For the remainder of the 2019 regular season, APC will monitor the other games around the NFL to identify which games can help the Green Bay Packers’ playoff positioning. This installment addresses the games taking place in week 15.
Last week, the Packers won an ugly game against Washington, and then the San Francisco 49ers beat the New Orleans Saints, which means the Packers have solidified themselves as the second seed in the NFC. The Packers now control their own first round bye destiny by winning out.
This week, the Packers have a huge game on the schedule. The rising Chicago Bears are coming into Lambeau, with something to prove and their playoff hopes hanging on by a thread. The Packers need to win this game to keep their first round bye spot, and they could possibly punch their ticket to the playoff this week.
The NFC race is starting to tighten up, and certain games this week would give the Packers a boost.
Sunday Early Games
Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers
Root For: Carolina Panthers
The Seahawks losing to the Rams last week was helpful to the Packers, seeing as the Seahawks needed to lose two games for the Packers to have an advantage over them in seeding. The Panthers are playing for pride this week, and players might be playing for jobs and contracts, meaning they will give the Seahawks 110%. This game is in Carolina, and the Panthers could sneak out a win against the Seahawks who struggled last week.
If the Seahawks lose and the Packers win, the Seahawks would have one more loss. Meaning, if they both won out, the Packers would take the one seed from them if they pulled ahead of the 49ers to win the NFC West.
Minnesota Vikings @ Los Angeles Chargers
Root For: the Chargers
If the Packers win this week, they can clinch the NFC North next week with a win, no matter the result of this game. But Los Angeles winning this game would mean the Vikings road to winning the NFC North would be next to impossible.
If the Packers win and the Vikings lose, the Packers would have to lose their last two and the Vikings would have to win their last two for them to take the NFC North crown. A loss for the Vikings would give the Packers more cushion in the NFC North. Winning the NFC North should be the number one priority, seeing as that automatically gives them a spot in the playoffs and a home game.
Sunday Afternoon Games
Los Angeles Rams @ Dallas Cowboys
Root For: The Cowboys
This might be the most important game of the weekend. If the Packers win against the Bears and the Rams lose or tie to the Cowboys, the Packers clinch the playoffs no matter what.
Yes, even if they clinch a playoff spot that does not mean they have clinched a home playoff game. The Packers can still end up a 6 seed even if they clinch this week. If they win out however, that will not matter.
Just for good measure, if the Packers do somehow tie the Bears, they can still clinch a spot if the Rams lose.
Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers
Root For: The Falcons
Yes, this would be a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge upset. Not only are the Falcons bad, they are playing in Santa Clara. If the Packers want to secure the one seed, they need the Seahawks to lose one more game and the 49ers to lose two of their last three. So a miracle from the Falcons may just be what the doctor ordered.
After this game, the 49ers play the Rams and then the Seahawks, so it is much more realistic they lose both of those, however it does not hurt to root against them.
Indianapolis Colts @ New Orleans Saints
Root For: Indianapolis Colts
The Saints are now in third place, and if they and the Packers win out the Packers will be the higher seed.
However, in the event that the Packers lose, the Saints would also need to lose another game or the Packers will miss out on the first round bye. The Saints losing isn't essential to the Packers playoff hopes, but it does not hurt to have extra cushion.