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NFC Playoff Picture, Week 9: Packers now on the outside looking in

Dallas leads the race for the top seed in the NFC, but the Packers need to find their footing if they hope to make it to the postseason this January.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Green Bay Packers have fallen to 4-4 after nine weeks, they are officially on the outside looking into the NFC Playoff picture for the first time since the early portion of the season. The Packers sit in third place in the NFC North, thanks to the Lions’ comeback victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon.

The Packers are still well within striking distance, as they sit just a half-game back of Washington for the final Wild Card spot. Furthermore, despite their third place slot in the division, the Packers are still just a single game behind the Vikings in the NFC North and a half-game behind second-place Detroit.

In other words, a strong second half can certainly vault the Packers into a playoff spot and even into another NFC North title, which would give them a home game. However, if the Packers’ lackluster offense continues its inconsistent play, this team could end up finishing around .500 and would be out of the picture - which could well lead to a shakeup of the leadership at 1265 Lombardi Avenue.

Here is how the NFC sits at present - keeping in mind that the Seahawks play on Monday Night against the Buffalo Bills.

Division Leaders

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys (7-1)
NFC South: Atlanta Falcons (6-3)
NFC West: Seattle Seahawks (4-2-1)
NFC North: Minnesota Vikings (5-3)

Wild Cards

New York Giants (5-3)
Washington (4-3-1)

Missing the Cut

Detroit Lions (5-4)
Green Bay Packers (4-4)
New Orleans Saints (4-4)
Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)

Bottom Tier

Carolina Panthers (3-5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)
Los Angeles Rams (3-5)
Chicago Bears (2-6)
San Francisco 49ers (1-7)