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 14.
After a solid win against the New York Giants last Sunday, the Green Bay Packers are in third place in the NFC standings, and hold a 2 game lead in the NFC North thanks to a loss by the Minnesota Vikings to Seattle Seahawks. This Sunday, the Packers play Washington in another game where they should easily take care of business.
The NFC is seeing the top eight teams in the conference starting to separate themselves. The only team that has secured a playoff spot is the New Orleans Saints, but the other five spots are still up for grabs. There are a couple of games this week that can help put the Packers in a position to secure a seed higher than the #3 they are currently in.
Dallas Cowboys @ Chicago Bears
Root for: Cowboys
Yes, I know deciding whether to root for the Cowboys or the Bears is like deciding if you would rather get a root canal or wait six hours at the DMV. Sometimes in life however, you have to do one or the other. In this case, Packers fan should root for the Dallas Cowboys.
The reason behind rooting for the Cowboys simply comes down to the Packers winning the NFC North. The Packers currently have three more wins than the Bears plus the tie breaker. So, if the Cowboys win that would all but effectively eliminate the Bears from playoff contention. The Cowboys winning does not change the Packers standing as they also have three fewer wins and Green Bay already beat them this season.
Sunday Day Games
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
Root For: Lions
Rooting for the littlest brother of the NFC North is the right move this weekend. Same situation as with the Bears, winning the NFC North should be the Packers number one priority.
Minnesota is currently a game behind plus down the tiebreaker, and if the Packers win and the Vikings lose, that will give the Packers a comfortable lead in the NFC North with a chance to clinch the division next week. Not to mention that if the Lions win and the Rams win, the Vikings will be in 7th place and out of Wild Card position.
San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints
Root For: The 49ers
Many fans in Packer land will protest the idea of rooting for the 49ers. However, they should hear this out. If the Packers win and the 49ers beat the New Orleans Saints, that gives the Packers roughly a 37% chance to get the second seed and secure a first round bye, according to Fivethirtyeight.com (and ignoring all other results this week). If the 49ers beat the Saints and the Packers handle business against Washington, they will be in second place and control their own destiny for a 1st round bye.
If New Orleans wins this game, however, the Packers’ chance of earning a bye drops to just 11%.
Securing the #1 seed for the Packers would take both the Seahawks and the 49ers losing two more games along with the Saints losing one. That’s highly unlikely, so pulling for the 49ers to win this game to secure the second seed is the best option. Because Seattle and San Francisco are in the same division, only one of them can have the top seed if the Packers get the second.
Seattle Seahawks @ Los Angeles Rams
Root for: Los Angeles
Just because there is a slim chance the Packers can secure that top spot, doesn't mean we shouldn't root for it to happen. Seeing as both Seattle and San Francisco need to lose two, getting one this weekend would help, because they play each other in week 17.
If the Rams do win this game, they would stay in the hunt for that last spot, and could potentially beat out Minnesota if they lose.