Packers Playoff Picture: Still Need Lions to Drop One Game

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

After Green Bay's win in Texas on Sunday, the Packers still need some help to make their way into the postseason.

The second half of yesterday's 37-36 comeback win against the Dallas Cowboys may have been a proverbial jolt from a defibrillator to re-start the Green Bay Packers' playoff hopes, but they are certainly still on life support for the time being. The win returns the Packers to a winning record overall, as they now sit at 7-6-1, but their destiny still lies in the hands of the Detroit Lions and that team's opponents.

Packers fans will be cheering for the Baltimore Ravens tonight, as they travel to Detroit for Monday Night Football.

NFC North Title

The division standings show the Packers a half-game back of the Chicago Bears, who won in Cleveland yesterday against the Browns.

Team Record
Chicago Bears 8-6
Detroit Lions 7-6
Green Bay Packers 7-6-1
Minnesota Vikings 4-9-1

As we know, the Packers will finish ahead of the Bears if Green Bay wins its next two games (hosting Pittsburgh before the finale in Chicago). However, those pesky Lions remain a problem, as they would clinch the division if they win their final three contests.

As a reminder, here is the rest of Detroit's schedule:
vs. Baltimore
vs. New York Giants
at Minnesota Vikings

All three are winnable games for Detroit, none of these games is a gimme either.

Wild-Card

The Packers were not officially eliminated from the Wild-Card race until Sunday, when wins by the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers assured that the Packers cannot finish above either team. Those two teams currently hold the two wild-card positions, and both can finish no worse than 10-6. Thus, it is now official that the only path the Packers have to the playoffs is through the NFC North.

Possible Opponents

This is probably thinking much too far into the future, but the question arose in my mind last night as to which team the Packers would face in the playoffs if they indeed make it in. As the NFC North winner, they would host either of the two Wild-Card teams in the first round. Feasible opponents include the aforementioned Panthers and 49ers, but the Saints are in play as well if Carolina can beat them in Charlotte in Week 16. In fact, with the struggles the Saints have had outside the Superdome (3-4 on the road), they might actually be the best matchup for an NFC North team hosting a first-round game, especially if said game is outdoors in cold weather.

At this point, all we can hope for is that 12 hours from now, the Ravens will have been victorious in Detroit and that the Packers will control their own destiny.

UPDATE: The Ravens did their part, and the Packers now control their own path to the NFC North title!

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