It's Friday, and Marshall Faulk is back with his GMC Playbook question for the SB Nation NFL blogs. This week, we're asked to imagine how we would react to a possible exceptional end to the 2014 regular season for our Green Bay Packers. Here's his question:
To start answering this question, let's look back at an article from APC's Harsha Sridhar from earlier this week. He took a quick look the other day at the possible playoff scenarios that the Packers would face, and he theorized a possible way that the Packers could earn home-field advantage in the NFC Playoffs without running the table. As unlikely as it sounds, it is still possible that the Packers could drop one game and see Arizona lose four of their last six.
However, winning out and finishing at 13-3 would certainly earn the Packers a first-round bye (since they are currently tied for second place in the conference and would end up winning the division). Based on tiebreakers, the Packers would likely need to finish a game ahead of the Cardinals in order to earn a better playoff seeding, requiring Arizona to go 3-3 in their last six games and finish at 12-4. Considering Arizona plays Seattle twice as well as the 49ers and Chiefs, three losses in that stretch is entirely possible. In fact, Football Outsiders' Playoff Odds list the Cardinals' win expectancy as 11.8, suggesting that they are likely to finish with at least three losses. That situation would send the NFC playoffs through Lambeau Field, where the Packers are a dominating 5-0 this season.
Of course, the old "take it one week at a time" mantra remains critical. The Packers face an inconsistent, but talented (in some places) Vikings team this week, and then host a Patriots team that is as hot as Green Bay is the week after. And then there's the expected NFC North showdown with Detroit on the last day of the regular season. So while running the table might not be a very likely proposition, if it happens the Packers should feel comfortable knowing that they wouldn't play away from home until the Super Bowl.