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NFC Playoff Picture: Packers fail to clinch playoff spot but still lead race for 6 seed

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The Packers can still get into the postseason if they lose next week, but they'll need help.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers did their part on Saturday to continue setting themselves up in good position to make the playoffs, beating the Minnesota Vikings 38-25. However, the slim chances of the Packers clinching a playoff spot yesterday did not come through, ensuring that they will need to win next week to be fully assured of a spot in the postseason.

The Packers did get one bit of help, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the New Orleans Saints. That dropped them a full game back, and with the Packers' strength of victory and schedule increasing, Tampa tweeted put on Sunday afternoon that they were out of the playoff race.

With the Vikings also out after yesterday's loss, that leaves just Washington as the other contender. However, Washington beat the Chicago Bears on Christmas Eve, leavingthem at 8-6-1 and a half-game behind the Packers.

All this means that the Packers have two pathways into the playoffs in week 17: either defeat the Detroit Lions and win the NFC North, or see Washington lose to the New York Giants instead.

Here are the seeds as they currently stand, keeping in mind that the Lions and Cowboys play on Monday night.

  1. Dallas Cowboys (12-2)
  2. Atlanta Falcons (10-5)
  3. Detroit Lions (9-5)
  4. Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1)
  5. New York Giants (10-5)
  6. Green Bay Packers (9-6)
  7. Washington (8-6-1)

Note that the Packers still have a chance at earning the 3rd seed in the NFC - they could do so with a win next week and a Seattle loss on the road to the 2-13 49ers.