With the Green Bay Packers sitting in the second position in the NFC, a playoff bye is theirs for the taking. The Packers need only to win their final two games to clinch that bye, but given the opponents and their relative strengths at this point in the season, it is going to effectively come down to Monday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Because the New Orleans Saints sit tied with the Packers but behind on the tiebreaker (for now), they need the Packers to lose at least one of their final two games to get that second seed. Interestingly, however, a loss by the Packers could actually result in them falling behind the Saints on tiebreakers even if New Orleans loses a game and both teams finish 12-4.
The Packers have two remaining NFC games, and currently they hold a one-game lead on the Saints in conference record. But a loss to either the Vikings or Lions would tie up that record; therefore, if the Saints lost this coming week at Tennessee but beat the Panthers in week 17, the teams would have a tied conference record and the tiebreakers will move to strength-of-victory, which favors the Saints.
According to Fivethirtyeight’s projections, the Packers’ odds of earning a first-round bye are at 88 percent if they beat the Vikings, due largely to their massive perceived advantage over the Lions in week 17. But if they lose in Minnesota, those odds drop all the way to just 18 percent. (Odds are not considering Meanwhile, the Saints’ odds change very little based on their own game against the Titans this week, so they will be scoreboard-watching very closely on Monday night.
Simple objective: Packers aiming for home games in playoffs | Packers.com
A win over the Vikings on Monday night would lock up the NFC North and guarantee the Packers a home game in the postseason. That’s goal number one. But as mentioned above, it will also be the key to clinching goal number two, a bye week and the second seed.
Aaron Rodgers likes Packers' chances even if the rest of NFL doesn't - ESPN
This comes down to the "winning ugly" identity. The Packers are 7-1 at home this season, with their only loss coming in the only game where their red zone offense really struggled. Rodgers knows that many around the NFL view the Packers as a vulnerable team, but he's confident in this squad.
Jake Kumerow to earn more opportunities in offense | Packersnews.com
One way for the Packers to get their offense clicking more consistently may be to give Kumerow more chances. He delivered with a huge 49-yard gain on Sunday and he is averaging just a shade under 20 yards per reception this year, tops on the team. And on Monday, Matt LaFleur acknowledged that he needs to get him on the field more.
Six observations from Packers’ playoff-clinching win over Bears | Packers Wire
When Aaron Jones gets to the second level of the defense, it's over. Teams might need to put a DB on him in coverage when he's split wide to contain his receiving ability, but when he has the ball in his hands, DBs are in a tough spot.
Seahawks WR Josh Gordon suspended indefinitely - NFL.com
This might be the final strike for Gordon in the NFL. The embattled receiver not only violated the league's substance abuse policy again, but he also was hit for the PED policy as well. It's tough to think of a way he ends up playing in the league again.
Michigan man sprayed brother’s hunting area with deer repellent, DNR says - mlive.com
Hunting season drama is real, and these two brothers in Michigan took it to a new height. One brother finally admitted that he sprayed deer repellent around his brother's stands.