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NFC Playoff Picture, Week 15: Packers still need a lot of help

Much of the Packers’ chances of making the postseason will hinge on the performance of a pair of NFC South teams.

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers still have a tough uphill climb in their quest to earn a playoff spot in 2017, but they still have something to play for after winning on Sunday in Cleveland.

The Packers sit in the ninth position in the NFC at present, but will need help to move up into a potential Wild Card spot. Here’s how the NFC standings look right now:

Current Seedings

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-2, NFC East Champs)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (10-3, NFC North leader)
  3. Los Angeles Rams (9-4, NFC West leader)
  4. New Orleans Saints (9-4, NFC South leader)
  5. Carolina Panthers (9-4, wild card)
  6. Atlanta Falcons (8-5, wild card)

The Eagles are the only team in the NFC to have clinched anything, doing so with a win over the Rams on Sunday. They locked up the NFC East and will have at worst a home game in the first round. However, Carson Wentz tore his left ACL yesterday, which will thrust Nick Foles into the starting lineup.

Minnesota is still unlikely to be caught in the North — they can clinch the division with a win in any of their remaining three games, which come against the Bengals, Packers, and Bears.

The NFC South, meanwhile, has three teams currently in the playoffs. The Packers actually would have been better off with a Vikings win on Sunday over Carolina, as the Panthers now sit two games up on Green Bay. However, a victory by the Packers over the Panthers on Sunday would narrow that gap to one game with two to play and would give Green Bay a head-to-head tiebreaker.

Still Alive

7. Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
8. Detroit Lions (7-6)
9. Green Bay Packers (7-6)
10. Dallas Cowboys (7-6)
11. Arizona Cardinals (6-7)
12. Washington (5-8)

Here are the teams that have not yet technically been eliminated. Seattle loses the head-to-head tiebreaker with Atlanta, and the Packers have a win in hand over the Seahawks. If Green Bay finishes tied with Detroit, it would likely do so after beating the Lions in week 17 to force a 1-1 season split. That would send it to a division record tiebreaker, which would be uncertain.

Clearly, the Packers need some serious help in the form of multiple losses by the Panthers and Falcons, and at least one more loss from Seattle. Of course, the only thing Green Bay can control is winning the final three games on the schedule, all of which come against teams currently ahead of them in the NFC playoff standings.

Eliminated Teams

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9)
14. Chicago Bears (4-9)
15. San Francisco 49ers (3-10)
16. New York Giants (2-11)