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NFC Playoff Picture, Week 12: Seahawks pose major challenge to Packers’ home-field hopes

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Seattle could be a major thorn in the Packers’ side down the stretch.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The hunt is on for home-field advantage. The Green Bay Packers are in a great position this season with six weeks to go, holding a half-game lead (plus a tiebreaker) in the NFC North and playing the only team ahead of them in the conference standings this Sunday night.

With a game against the NFC West-leading 49ers on deck, the Packers have a chance to stake their claim to the top spot in the conference with just five games left. However, a Packers win on Sunday could send the 49ers down into second place in their own division, should the Seattle Seahawks beat the Philadelphia Eagles early in the day.

Interestingly, there is a pathway for the Packers to win out, finishing 14-2, but still only achieving the #2 seed in the conference. That would happen if Seattle also wins out, as they would hold a superior record in games against common opponents. The Packers would have the only loss between the two teams in common opponents, to the Eagles in week 4.

(Should the Saints also win out to finish 14-2 in this scenario, they would likely be the 3rd seed behind Seattle and Green Bay.)

Much will be decided this weekend, and if the Packers lose to the 49ers, they will be back to needing some help from multiple sources. But for now, keep an eye on the Seahawks as a team to watch in the hunt for home-field.

Here are the six teams currently in playoff position in the NFC:

  1. San Francisco 49ers (9-1, NFC West)
  2. Green Bay Packers (8-2, NFC North)
  3. New Orleans Saints (8-2, NFC South)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (6-4, NFC East)
  5. Seattle Seahawks (8-2, Wild Card)
  6. Minnesota Vikings (8-3, Wild Card)

And here are the rest of the teams, all of which are still mathematically alive for the playoffs for the time being:

7. Los Angeles Rams (6-4)
8. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)
9. Carolina Panthers (5-5)
10. Chicago Bears (4-6)
11. Detroit Lions (3-6-1)
12. Arizona Cardinals (3-7-1)
13. Atlanta Falcons (3-7)
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7)
15. New York Giants (2-8)
16. Washington (1-9)