This week the Green Bay Packers are idle, sitting and resting on their bye week as they prepare for the final five games of the regular season. Green Bay has their sights set on earning home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs once again, but as they sit in the second spot in the conference currently, they need a little bit of help to achieve that goal.
With the Cardinals a half-game up on the Packers, an Arizona loss somewhere in the next six weeks is essential. Could it happen this week? Packers players and fans alike will surely be cheering for it.
But what of the other games on the schedule this week? The Packers didn’t get much help from the Saints against the Cowboys on Thursday night, but a few of Sunday’s games could make some big changes happen in the conference standings. This week, we have a rooting guide for you so you can be sure you know who to be pulling for in each game to maximally help the Packers’ chances of earning the one-seed — or of playing a less-than-stellar opponent in the Wild Card round should they fall short.
Cardinals vs. Bears: Chicago
This one hurts, because it’s never fun cheering for the Bears, but it’s a die-hard necessity this week. The Packers need to climb back into a tie with Arizona for the NFC’s top spot so that their head-to-head win over the Cardinals can kick in as a tiebreaker. Odds of a Chicago win aren’t great, especially if Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins return, but it’s essential to root for the Bears this week, since the Packers can eliminate them from divisional contention next weekend regardless.
Buccaneers vs. Falcons: Atlanta
Similar to above, Green Bay fans should pull for a home underdog in this game. A Tampa Bay win pulls them into a tie with the Packers at 9-3, and although the Packers currently have the tiebreaker on conference record, it would be nice to have a game lead on Tampa. But as above, don’t expect this one to come through, even though Atlanta sits at 5-6; they have that record despite being the worst team in the NFL by DVOA.
Vikings vs. Lions: Detroit
First of all, it would be hilarious if Minnesota gave Detroit its first win this season. Secondly, another Vikings loss would hurt them badly in the race for a Wild Card spot. As we saw two weeks ago, weird things can happen involving Minnesota, so it wouldn’t be bad if they end up out of the playoffs entirely.
Don’t look now, but San Francisco is starting to climb up the standings again and is currently the NFC’s 6-seed. A Niners loss drops them down a bit, likely into a morass of other mediocre teams like Washington and Minnesota. I’d also add in that a Seattle win hurts their first-round draft pick, but they traded it to the Jets in the Jamal Adams deal, so that doesn’t matter here.
Washington vs. Raiders: Washington
A Football Team victory ensures that Minnesota stays out of the playoff picture for another week. That’s a good thing for Green Bay.
Jaguars vs. Rams: Jacksonville
Every additional game the Packers can pick up on another NFC team in the playoff race is a good one, so go Jags.
Giants vs. Dolphins: New York
Pull for the Giants here to hurt their draft stock a bit in the 2022 NFL Draft. That’s about all we’ve got.
Eagles vs. Jets: Philadelphia
As with the Giants-Dolphins, pull for the bad NFC teams to win and hurt their own draft picks. A Jets loss also improves their draft stock and decreases the likelihood of other NFC teams drafting in the top 5.
Ravens vs. Steelers: Pittsburgh
The Packers already beat the Steelers this season, and have yet to play the Ravens. Thus, a Pittsburgh win surely improves Green Bay’s strength of victory tiebreaker while a Ravens win is uncertain to do so pending the results of that game in two weeks.
Chargers vs. Bengals: Cincinnati
See above. Green Bay’s SOV and strength of schedule improve with a Bengals victory over another AFC team.
Broncos vs. Chiefs: Chiefs (unless you love chaos, then Broncos)
It’s only SOS that helps the Packers with a Chiefs win here. But a Broncos win could set up a crazy 4-way tie atop the AFC West at 7-5, which would be hilarious, so I’m probably going to pull for that instead of a tiebreaker that likely won’t matter.
Colts vs. Texans: Shrug
I’m pulling for Indianapolis only because I am a Wisconsin alumnus and enjoy seeing Jonathan Taylor doing well. The conditional draft pick going from Indianapolis to Philadelphia for Carson Wentz is already almost assuredly going to be a first-rounder instead of a second, so there’s no notable consideration there.
Bills vs. Patriots: Shrug again
This game has no impact whatsoever on the Packers, so if you want to root against Bill Belichick, go right ahead.