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NFC Playoff Picture, Week 10: Packers are just one game back of Wild Card

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Minnesota is two games up in the division, but the Packers are still well within striking distance of them and of the NFC’s Wild Card teams.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps it’s crazy to still be thinking about the playoffs for this Green Bay Packers team, but here we are after week 10 with the franchise sitting at 5-4 and just one game back of a playoff spot in the NFC.

Considering the Packers’ schedule over the next four weeks, they could (and perhaps should) stay well in the thick of the NFC playoff race through that span. Here’s a look at the current playoff standings in the conference:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1, NFC East leader)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (7-2, NFC North leader)
  3. New Orleans Saints (7-2, NFC South leader)
  4. Los Angeles Rams (7-2, NFC West leader)
  5. Seattle Seahawks (6-3, wild-card)
  6. Carolina Panthers (6-3, wild-card)*

* Carolina plays Miami on Monday Night Football this evening. They would move ahead of Seattle with a win and would stay in sixth place with a loss.

In a tie for seventh place are four NFC teams at 5-4: the Falcons, Lions, Packers, and Cowboys, in that order. The Packers are 1-2 against those teams, with their sole win against the group coming in Dallas.

Behind them at 4-5 are a pair of franchises in Washington and Arizona, followed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears at 3-6. Then we have the 1-8 Giants and 1-9 49ers to round out the bottom of the conference.

At this point, the Packers are still very much in the thick of the playoff race, and they have three very winnable games coming up over their next four. Next Sunday, Green Bay hosts the 4-5 Baltimore Ravens, and then after a road test at 7-2 Pittsburgh they play the winless Browns and the Buccaneers (currently 3-6). If the Packers can go 3-1 in that stretch, that would put them at 8-5 with three games to go — including a pair of divisional games.

That record would be more than enough for this team to try to make a run at a Wild Card spot, especially with a win in hand over a few contenders (Seattle and Dallas) and a chance to earn big-time wins against Carolina, Minnesota, and Detroit in the season’s final three weeks.