The Green Bay Packers are on a bye this weekend, giving fans of the team an entire weekend without the Green and Gold in action. Hopefully this won’t happen again until late January with the Packers sitting idle and waiting for a Super Bowl appearance. For now, however, this can be a chance to get some chores done around the house, maybe see some friends or family, or just get outside and enjoy the fall weather.
Then again, odds are you’ll still watch some sports this weekend anyway. The Brewers remain alive in the NLCS with Game 6 on Friday (and hopefully a Game 7 on Saturday), the NBA and NHL seasons are alive and well, and college football has another Saturday with some big conference matchups.
But the king of the weekend is still NFL football, and if you’re planning to tune in for any games this weekend, we have your guide of who to root for in the 14 games taking place in week seven from the perspective of helping the Packers. It’s still plenty early to start looking closely at playoff positioning, but every game matters, and a random matchup in week seven can have tiebreaker or seeding effects down the stretch.
Unfortunately, Packers fans can’t spend their Sunday rooting against the New Orleans Saints in the hopes that they end up with a better draft pick — New Orleans is also on a bye this week.
Here’s who APC thinks are the best bets for the weekend to help out the idle Packers.
The Cardinals are in the NFC so...I guess go Broncos? This is likely to be an ugly game and both teams appear to be in contention for a top-10 draft pick. Watch if you must tonight, or else tune in for Game 5 of the ALCS to see if the Red Sox (barf) can put away the Astros.
Please, these are AFC games. Root for your fantasy players or against your friend’s favorite team to make them angry, or pick a team based on whatever other reason you can come up with. It doesn’t matter. The only remotely useful thing for the Packers would be a Bills win to help Green Bay’s strength of schedule and victory, but with that tie in the ledger it probably won’t much matter anyway.
That should of course be Packers fans’ first choice, but in reality we still have to pull for the Bears to lose here. Chicago has a slight lead on the Packers in the division (based on winning percentage) and this would go down in the common opponent tiebreaker category should the Bears have a tie later in the season and have tiebreakers come into play.
Currently, the NFC has just seven teams teams above .500, with three teams who are not winning their division above that mark. The Packers and Vikings are tied at 3-2-1, while Carolina sits at 3-2 and the Eagles are 3-3 — and both of them sit behind the leaders in their respective divisions. In this case, I’m going Eagles, and here’s why: I don’t think the NFC East gets multiple teams in the playoffs, and I think the Panthers have a very good shot of being in the Wild Card hunt. An Eagles win knocks Carolina back behind the Packers.
Vikings at Jets
I sure hope I don’t need to explain this one. Fight on, Sam Darnold. J-E-T-S!
Browns at Buccaneers
Tampa is 2-3, while the Browns are 2-3-1. Pull for the Browns for an AFC victory over an NFC team, but also because they’re the Browns and it would be entertaining to see them relevant past week two.
It’s Brocktober. After Osweiler and Albert Wilson went bonkers on the Bears’ supposedly excellent pass defense last Sunday, here’s hoping they can do the same to the Lions’ 28th-ranked unit (by DVOA). A win would pull the Lions up to .500. Don’t let that happen.
Saints at Ravens
Pull for the Ravens here. If the Packers can get to the top of the NFC North, they’ll probably need to find a way ahead of New Orleans to get a first-round bye.
Cowboys at Washington
Anything that keeps the NFC East a tight race and keeps the teams as close to .500 as possible is good for the Packers. In this case, that’s a Dallas win, which would bring them up to 4-3 but knocks Washington down to 3-3 and beneath the Packers.
Would you rather the Packers play a Rams team that’s 7-0 and full of confidence or one that’s 6-1 and ticked off about a surprise road upset to a 1-5 49ers squad? Yeah, a Rams loss would help, since they’ll need to lose three times for the Packers to even have a shot at catching them for the top spot in the NFC. Root for it, but don’t count on it.
See the other AFC games above, as the Packers don’t have a horse in this race. But it’s probably one that would be worth tuning in for. Watch for some potential offensive explosions from Pat Mahomes (because he’s Pat Mahomes) and Andy Dalton (because the Chiefs’ defense is garbage).
Go G-Men! Sure, both teams are at least two games under .500 — New York is 1-5 and the Falcons are 2-4 — but if one of these teams can make any semblance of a run and threaten for a playoff spot, it’s Atlanta. Sure, a Falcons win would make the Packers’ schedule an iota better, but as we’ve noted before, that tiebreaker probably won’t come into play and I’d rather see these two teams both leave this week at 2-5 than give the Falcons any real hope of challenging for a playoff spot.