On Thursday and Sunday in week 14, the Green Bay Packers did not get any favors from the results around the NFC. While their quest for the top seed in the playoffs continues, it got a little tougher thanks to some key wins by other NFC opponents.
The only playoff-contending NFC team to lose (not counting the NFC South teams) was the Philadelphia Eagles, who lost to the Seattle Seahawks in a late game. Since the Packers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Eagles and would lose it if tied with the Seahawks, a Philly win would have been more helpful for the Packers. Instead, Seattle pulls even with Philly at 9-4 and a half-game behind the Packers with their Week 14 game coming up tonight.
The Arizona Cardinals also won on Sunday, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs and holding on to the top spot in the NFC. A loss would have dropped them back behind the Seahawks in the NFC West and into the fifth spot in the NFC.
Likewise, the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys both won (on Sunday and Thursday, respectively), and each are a half-game behind the Packers as well. Certainly, Detroit is the more concerning team since they are a divisional rival and maintain the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Packers.
So what does this mean for Green Bay tonight? Well, to keep it short and simple, they had better win in order to keep pace with all of these NFC teams that have refused to lose this weekend. We broke down what the results of tonight's game would mean for the NFC's playoff seeding, and you can find these below.
If the Packers defeat the Falcons:
Here's how the NFC playoff picture would look if the Packers win tonight:
|1||Arizona||10-3||NFC West, wins tiebreaker (vs. GB) on conference record|
|2||Green Bay||10-3||NFC North|
|5||Seattle||9-4||Wins Tiebreaker (vs. DAL) on conference record and (vs. DET) on common opponents|
|6||Detroit||9-4||Wins Tiebreaker (vs. DAL) on conference record|
The Packers would hold on to their one-game lead in the North, and keep pace with the Cardinals for the top seed in the NFC. Dallas would be the next team out, losing the tiebreakers to both the Seahawks and Lions. The Falcons would still lead the NFC South at 5-8, however, since they would be tied with the Saints on record and have the head-to-head win.
Note: if this game ends in a tie, the playoff seeding would look identical to this. The Packers would be a half-game up on the Lions, while the Falcons would hold a half-game lead for their division as well.
If the Falcons defeat the Packers:
|2||Detroit||9-4||NFC North (win tiebreaker vs. PHI on conference record)|
|5||Seattle||9-4||Wins Tiebreaker (vs. DAL, GB) on conference record|
|6||Dallas||9-4||Wins Tiebreaker (vs. GB) on common opponents|
If the Packers do lose tonight, our analysis indicates that they would fall all the way back from the second seed to the seventh spot and out of the playoffs. The Seahawks lead the three-way tiebreaker between Seattle, Dallas, and Green Bay based on their 7-2 conference record, whereas Dallas and Green Bay would both stand at 6-4. Then the tiebreaker between the Cowboys and Packers would be decided on common opponents - Dallas is 3-1 against Philadelphia, New Orleans, Seattle, and Chicago, while the Packers are 3-2 in those games. Therefore, Dallas would get the last spot for the time being.
UPDATE: The Packers emerged victorious from Monday's game at Lambeau Field, earning a hard-fought 43-37 victory over the Falcons. That keeps them in the second spot in the NFC overall and in the NFC North lead. Check out our game recap here.