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NFL Playoff Picture: Week 14 Packers Rooting Interest Guide

The Green Bay Packers need the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers to come through for them this weekend.

Baltimore Ravens v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

According to the New York Times’ playoff machine, the Green Bay Packers have a 72 percent chance to make the playoffs this season, based on tens of thousands of simulations. At the moment, the Packers currently hold the seventh seed in the NFC — partly due to the recent collapse of the Seattle Seahawks.

Although Green Bay is sitting in a pretty good position to make their postseason dreams a reality, the Packers and their fans should continue to scoreboard-watch for the rest of the season. Currently, four other teams in just the NFC alone share a 6-6 record with the Packers, and two other teams are breathing down that group of teams’ necks with a 5-7 record.

To try to break down which non-Packers games matter for Green Bay this week, let’s take a look at which matches will most impact the Packers’ playoff hopes. But first, here are the full standings in the NFC so you can understand the baseline conversation.

NFC Standings

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

Packers @ Giants

  • Leverage: 27 percent

Obviously, Packers fans should want their own team to win on Monday Night Football this week. If Green Bay wins, they’ll rise to a 79 percent chance to make the playoffs. If the Giants win, the Packers will crash down to 52 percent. The difference there is the “leverage” of the game.

Rams @ Ravens

  • Leverage: 9 percent
  • The angle: Go Ravens

The biggest worry Packers fans should have right now is that the Rams continue to win football games and end up jumping Green Bay in the NFC playoff race at some point. Like the Packers, Los Angeles is playing its best ball right now and has won three straight games coming out of their bye week.

The good news is that the Ravens are one of the best teams in the NFL and are favored in this matchup. A Rams loss would go a long way to creating a buffer between the Packers and them, as Green Bay already holds the head-to-head tie-breaker after their Week 9 matchup.

Seahawks @ 49ers

  • Leverage: 7 percent
  • The angle: Go 49ers

The Seahawks aren’t dead yet, though, it’s looking pretty bad for them right now. Seattle’s lost four of their last five games and they still have to play the 49ers and Eagles in back-to-back games. You should be rooting for San Francisco here, as a continued drop in the standings for the Seahawks makes for a weaker threat to the Packers’ positioning.

Vikings @ Raiders

  • Leverage: 5 percent
  • The angle: Go Raiders

We’re always rooting against the Vikings around these parts, but especially when they have the head-to-head tie-breaker over the Packers and have an equal record as the green and gold. If the Raiders win on Sunday, Green Bay could easily be the sixth seed in the NFC by the end of Week 14’s action. The Packers can fix the head-to-head tie-breaker issue later in the season in their rematch against Minnesota, but it’s better to not need that game.

Lions @ Bears

  • Leverage: 1 percent
  • The angle: Go Lions

Surprisingly, it helps the Packers for the Lions to beat the Bears this weekend. This may seem counterintuitive, as Green Bay has the smallest sliver of hope to still contend for the NFC North title. The reason why a Lions win helps the Packers’ playoff odds is that Chicago is still lingering “in the hunt” in the NFC race. Another Bears loss coupled with a Green Bay win would virtually knock them into irrelevant territory in the postseason picture.

Panthers @ Saints

  • Leverage: 1 percent
  • The angle: Go Panthers

Buccaneers @ Falcons

  • Leverage: 1 percent
  • The angle: Go Buccaneers

Like the Bears, the non-Panthers NFC South teams are still hanging around “in the hunt.” Just go ahead and assume that for the rest of the season you’re rooting against NFC South squads, as they’re the biggest threats outside of the NFC West to jump back into playoff contention. In head-to-head NFC South matchups like this, you’re going to be rooting for the team with the worse record.

Per the playoff machine, the absolute best-case scenario for the Packers, which includes wins for Green Bay and losses for Los Angeles, Seattle, Minnesota, Chicago, New Orleans and Atlanta, is that they go into Week 15 with an 86 percent chance to make the postseason. It’s unlikely that the Packers catch every break possible here. But we can hope, can’t we?