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Packers 2019 Bye Week Rooting Guide: Pull for upsets by Broncos, Cardinals, and Bucs

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The Packers’ top three NFC rivals all have easy games on paper this week, so cheer for upsets.

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With the Green Bay Packers on a bye, fans of the green and gold have to turn our attention to other games around the NFL in week 11. With a late bye and playoff races already starting to shape up, there are some clear teams to root for in the quest to help make the Packers’ road to home-field advantage in the NFC as smooth as possible.

Let’s take a spin through this week’s games and break down which teams Packers fans should be cheering for in week 11. This analysis takes into account playoff matchups, tiebreakers, and general feelings that Packers fans tend to have about other teams around the NFL.

Thursday Night Football: Steelers at Browns

Who to root for: Browns

This game has no bearing on the Packers, so go #TeamChaos. At 3-6, the Browns could throw a wrench into the Steelers’ playoff hopes, with Pittsburgh sitting at 5-4 and in the thick of the Wild Card race.

Sunday Early Games

Texans at Ravens

Who to root for: A good, entertaining game

Two MVP candidates go at it in Baltimore in this contest, which has no bearing on the Packers whatsoever. So let’s just tune in and enjoy Lamar Jackson vs. Deshaun Watson.

Falcons at Panthers

Who to root for: Panthers

There is going to be a common thread here, and that is strength of victory. As one of the key playoff tiebreakers (after results in common games and then conference record), strength of victory is at least notable and could come into play if the Packers and Saints end up tied for a playoff spot. With Green Bay having beaten the Panthers this year, a win by Carolina helps in that area.

Cowboys at Lions

Who to root for: Cowboys

The Packers have beaten both of these teams already, but Dallas is tied with the Eagles for the NFC East lead. I’d much rather see the Cowboys come to Green Bay in the playoffs than Philadelphia, and it’s tough to ever cheer for another NFC North team. So let’s pull for the Cowboys, because we’ll be pushing for Philly as well later on.

Jaguars at Colts

Who to root for: Whatever

This AFC South game has no bearing whatsoever on the Packers, and there isn’t even really a fun storyline to pull out. So you can safely ignore this game.

Bills at Dolphins

Who to root for: Dolphins, maybe?

Both teams have former Packers on the roster, in Bills safety Micah Hyde and Dolphins linebacker Vince Biegel. Since Miami’s week 5 bye, Biegel has been a starter, recording nine QB hits, two TFLs, and a sack in the last five games. It’s nice to see him making some noise there, so I’m going to pull for Miami, but it’s admittedly a weak rationale.

Broncos at Vikings

Who to root for: Broncos

This one’s easy. The Vikings are a game back of the Packers in the NFC North and have their bye next week, when the Packers face the 49ers. Pull for them to lose the remainder of their games and stay clear of the top of the division.

Saints at Buccaneers

Who to root for: Bucs

Like the Vikings game above, the Packers could use a Saints loss to help them in their quest for a first-round bye. New Orleans has two losses, just like the Packers, and a win here pulls them even on wins at 8-2. Even though Green Bay would have the superior conference record and the tiebreaker, a second straight surprising loss by New Orleans would help with Green Bay’s big game in San Francisco coming next week.

Jets at Washington

Who to root for: Washington

Green Bay has not played either of these teams yet, but they do get Washington later in the season. That looks like a winnable game, so Washington getting a second notch in the win column would help minimize the strength of victory hit that the Packers would take by beating Washington.

Sunday Late Games

Cardinals at 49ers

Who to root for: Cardinals

San Francisco is the only one-loss team in the NFC, and after this game their schedule gets massively more difficult. They play three straight games against teams with two or fewer losses through week ten in the Packers, Ravens, and Saints. A loss here would make it much more feasible for the Packers to pass up the 49ers for a bye or home-field in the event that Green Bay loses in California next week.

Arizona did come close to pulling an upset when these teams met two weeks ago on Thursday Night Football, losing just 28-25, so it’s not insane to think that they could make something happen here.

Bengals at Raiders

Who to root for: Raiders

We’re back to the strength of victory argument here. There’s that and the thought that the Bengals probably deserve to go 0-16.

Patriots at Eagles

Who to root for: Eagles

While I would rather avoid Philadelphia in the NFC playoffs, any loss by New England is a good thing for NFL fans of the other 31 teams. Pull for Doug Pederson and company in this one.

Sunday Night Football: Bears at Rams

Who to root for: Rams

Bears fans came into this season with such high hopes, and a loss here would thoroughly crush their dreams for the remainder of 2019. You don’t want Chicago getting back to .500 with six games to play, do you?

Monday Night Football: Chiefs at Chargers

Who to root for: Chiefs

This comes down to strength of victory as well. The Packers beat the Chiefs and lost to the Chargers, so a Kansas City win helps a little bit here.