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NFC Playoff Outlook: The Packers are ‘in the hunt’

After a Thanksgiving win against the Detroit Lions, Green Bay’s playoff hopes are alive in a weak NFC.

NFL: NOV 23 Packers at Lions Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers not only are “in the hunt” in the NFC playoff race but made legitimate strides for a playoff push in Week 12. On top of the Packers’ 29-22 win over the then 8-2 Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, the team also got some help from around the conference. The main game that swung in the Packers’ favor this week was the San Francisco 49ers beating the Seattle Seahawks, as the Seahawks — along with the Minnesota Vikings — are one of the teams that currently own a wildcard spot but could lose it down the stretch.

NFC Standings

  1. Philadelphia Eagles: 10-1
  2. San Francisco 49ers: 8-3
  3. Detroit Lions: 8-3
  4. Dallas Cowboys: 8-3
  5. Minnesota Vikings: 6-5
  6. Seattle Seahawks: 6-5
  7. Atlanta Falcons: 5-6
  8. Green Bay Packers: 5-6
  9. Los Angeles Rams: 5-6
  10. New Orleans Saints: 5-6
  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4-7
  12. New York Giants: 4-8
  13. Washington Commanders: 4-8
  14. Chicago Bears: 3-8
  15. Arizona Cardinals: 2-10
  16. Carolina Panthers: 1-10

At the moment, the Packers are the eighth seed in the NFC, which puts them just one spot outside of the playoffs. Exclude the Atlanta Falcons from your watch list, though, as at least one NFC South team is going to make the postseason — no matter how poor their record is.

Out of the non-Falcons 5-6 teams, the Packers have head-to-head tie-breakers over both the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints, which is a pretty significant development with the way the NFC is trending. It would be shocking if any of the top four teams in the conference didn’t make the postseason, but the Vikings and Seahawks haven’t built up much of a lead over the 5-6 group.

As a reminder, the Vikings haven’t played this week, as they’re set to play the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football tomorrow. Depending on how backup-turned-starter Josh Dobbs plays at quarterback, Minnesota might have as many losses as the Packers do by the start of Week 13.

Green Bay also has a relatively easy schedule down the stretch, too, as they’ll play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers, who have combined for a 12-33 record this season. If they take care of business against those four teams, the New York Times’ playoff machine gives the Packers a 91 percent chance to make the playoffs. Upsets happen, but it’s starting to feel like Green Bay is going to make the postseason unless they start dropping games to the underperforming squads on their schedule.

After winning three of their last four games, this young Packers roster seems to be playing its best football after a lousy first two months of the season. Luckily for Matt LaFleur’s squad, the rest of the NFC didn’t pull too far away before Green Bay got its act together.