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With the Green Bay Packers off this Sunday after their ridiculous hail mary victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday, we Packers fans have a full afternoon once again to watch the other teams around the league. This week, we'll do something a little different and provide you with suggestions on who to root for in all of this week's games to best help out the Packers' playoff positioning.
Early Games (12 noon Central)
East Rutherford, NJ
Who to root for: Jets. In the case of every AFC-NFC game, cheer for the NFC team to lose and not gain any ground in the Wild Card. Currently the Packers are matched up with the NFC East leader for a playoff game, and Washington (the current leader) seems a less-daunting matchup for the Green Bay defense
Edward Jones Dome
St. Louis, MO
Who to root for: Rams. If the Packers still hold out any hope of earning a first-round bye, they need Arizona to lose at least one more game in addition to the one against Green Bay in week 16. The Packers have a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams and are three games up, so they're not a major concern.
Raymond James Stadium
Who to root for: Bucs. A Tampa Bay win would put both of these NFC South teams at 6-6, whereas an Atlanta win would pull them up to 7-5 and keep them very much alive in the Wild Card race.
TCF Bank Stadium
Who to root for: Team meteor. But if you have to cheer for one...I actually might lean towards Minnesota, since the Packers can still win the NFC North by winning out and beating the Vikings in Week 17 (a tall order, but still theoretically possible). A loss by Seattle would knock them down to 6-6 and potentially in a tie with some NFC South or NFC East teams for the last wild card spot.
This also goes back to what matchup would be best for the Packers in the Wild-Card round of the playoffs, if they do not earn a bye. Would you rather see them travel to the NFC East champs, who could finish around .500, or win the division and host a stronger Wild-Card team like Seattle? I don't know what the answer is just yet, but let's hope for a long, physical game that takes a lot of energy out of both teams.
Ralph Wilson Stadium
Who to root for: It's an AFC game, so whatever. Unless you're a Wisconsin fan, in which case you'll probably pull for J.J. Watt and the Texans.
Sun Life Stadium
Who to root for: Again, it's an AFC game. Meh.
Who to root for: Cleveland. Because sometimes it's fun to watch the world burn.
Who to root for: No opinion.
Who to root for: The fightin' Blaine Gabberts. I hope I don't have to explain why we should cheer for a Bears loss.
3:05 PM Central
San Diego, CA
Who to root for: Again, this doesn't make a difference, especially since both teams are on the Packers' schedule this year. A win either way does not affect even the strength of schedule.
Oakland County Coliseum
Who to root for: see Broncos-Chargers
3:25 PM Central
New Orleans, LA
Who to root for: Saints. It would be really nice for someone to finally knock the Panthers off their undefeated perch, and it needs to happen sooner rather than later if the Packers want any hope of earning the NFC's top seed (a long shot, admittedly, but still theoretically possible).
Who to root for: Normally we'd say cheer for the AFC team, but it's very difficult to pull for the Patriots in any situation. It's doubly difficult to do so when they're playing an NFC team that's three games under .500 and therefore aren't a serious contender for the Wild Card.
Sunday Night Football
7:30 PM Central
Who to root for: Once again, there's no right or wrong answer here, since both teams are in the AFC and in the playoff hunt, while neither one is on the Packers' schedule this year.