Following their Thanksgiving loss in Detroit, the Packers stood at a scant 7.1% chance of making the playoffs as calculated by Football Outsiders. That figure constituted an improvement from a week earlier, when their postseason odds were estimated at roughly 5%. The reason for the low percentages was obvious. Green Bay had not won in over a month, and their star quarterback was sidelined indefinitely during perhaps the worst stretch of performance for Dom Capers' defense. The Packers were done.
Or so it seemed.
Following an incredible string of events, the Packers (7-6-1) find themselves back in control of their own playoff destiny. Such is the result of not only their implausible come-from-behind shocker in Dallas, but also the Lions' latest implosion on Monday Night Football. No longer will Green Bay have to root for outcomes in other games. All that's needed for their fifth consecutive playoff berth are two wins over the Steelers and Bears.
Further aiding the Packers chances is the impending return of Aaron Rodgers. While Mike McCarthy expectedly remained hazy on whether Rodgers will return this week, ESPN's Ed Werder reported that the Packers believe their star quarterback will return in time for week 16. If Rodgers can play the next two weeks, Green Bay stands a good chance of taking the division.
It's the latest example of what's great about the NFL. No other sports league offers this kind of excitement and unexpected thrill. It took a lot to keep the Packers alive, but suddenly their odds aren't so long anymore.