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Week 16 NFC Standings, Playoff Picture

The Green Bay Packers’ Week 17 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings might be the most important game left on the NFL schedule.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

After back-to-back losses to the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Green Bay Packers have gone from controlling their destiny in the NFC playoffs to being ranked 11th in the conference standings. The Packers still have a fighter’s chance to make the postseason, but they sure have made life difficult for themselves after the last few weeks.

Let’s dive into the playoff outlook for Green Bay, going into Monday Night Football.


NFC Standings

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

Packers Remaining Schedule

  • Week 16: @ Carolina Panthers
  • Week 17: @ Minnesota Vikings
  • Week 18: vs. Chicago Bears

According to the New York Times’ playoff machine, the Packers have a 25 percent chance to make the playoffs after Sunday’s action. If Green Bay wins out, they have a 96 percent chance to make the postseason, but what happens if they go 2-1?

Well, it really depends on which game they lose. For example, if the Packers beat both the Panthers and Bears, the playoff machine projects that Green Bay will go to the playoffs 48 percent of the time. A win against the Vikings would push them to 96 percent, but a loss to Minnesota would drop them all the way down to 11 percent, despite going 8-9 on the season in this scenario.

In contrast, the Packers have a 44 percent chance to make the playoffs — essentially a coin flip, if they were to lose to the Panthers next weekend but finish the season with back-to-back divisional wins against the Vikings and Bears.

To make this easy, the Packers will almost certainly make the playoffs if they win out, despite being the 11th seed at the moment in a tight NFC race. The Vikings game is a must-win game in virtually any scenario, because of Minnesota’s positioning in the NFC wildcard race. If Green Bay can beat the Vikings and one other team to end the year, they have about a 50-50 chance to make it into the playoffs, depending on how much help they get from other teams who currently have six or seven wins at the moment.


Key Games Moving Forward

Below are games that will impact the Packers’ playoff percentage by at least two percentage points, according to the NYT’s playoff machine, and which team you should be rooting for in the contest. For the most part, you’re just rooting against teams that have similar records to Green Bay.

Week 15

Eagles @ Seahawks

Playoff leverage: +6% with an Eagles win

Week 16

Packers @ Panthers

Playoff leverage: +22% with a Packers win

Lions @ Vikings

Playoff leverage: +6% with a Lions win

Saints @ Rams

Playoff leverage: +4% with a Saints win

Seahawks @ Titans

Playoff leverage: +3% with a Titans win

Colts @ Falcons

Playoff leverage: +2% with a Colts win

Week 17

Packers @ Vikings

Playoff leverage: +46% with a Packers win

Rams @ Giants

Playoff leverage: +9% with a Giants win

Steelers @ Seahawks

Playoff leverage: +6% with a Steelers win

Falcons @ Bears

Playoff leverage: +3% with a Bears win

Saints @ Buccaneers

Playoff leverage: +3% with a Buccaneers win

Week 18

Bears @ Packers

Playoff leverage: +30% with a Packers win

Rams @ 49ers

Playoff leverage: +7% with a 49ers win

Seahawks @ Cardinals

Playoff leverage: +7% with a Cardinals win

Vikings @ Lions

Playoff leverage: +6% with a Lions win

Buccaneers @ Panthers

Playoff leverage: +4% with a Panthers win

Falcons @ Saints

Playoff leverage: +3% with a Falcons win