The Packers pulled out an improbable win on Sunday versus the Cowboys. With the weakness of the NFC, the window has not shut on the Packers making the playoffs. Here is a breakdown of how realistic the Packers’ playoff chances are.
The Packers Remaining Schedule
The Packers sit at 4-6 currently. That record does not seem good for the Packers’ playoff chances. However, 9-8 might be realistic to get into the playoffs in the NFC as the 7th seed. This means the Packers have to go 5-2 the rest of the way. This isn’t unrealistic and the schedule seems favorable. The toughest games are against the Eagles, Vikings, and Dolphins. For the Packers to make the playoffs, they have to win at least one of these games. The most realistic would be the Vikings in my opinion. They are a divisional opponent and they will be looking for revenge from earlier in the season. It also is the only one of these at home.
The other opponents are the Titans, Bears, Lions, and Rams. All of these are very winnable games with all but the game against the Bears being at home. In there as well is the Packers’ bye week. It comes right before the last four games. I wouldn’t underestimate what this bye week could do for the team. If the Packers need to go 4-0 over the last four games, the bye week could give them to reset button they need. The remaining schedule looks promising for the Packers’ playoff chances.
Who Do They Need To Catch?
The Packers’ playoff chances rest in the wild card spot. The Vikings are 8-1 and barring a monumental collapse, they will win the division. Currently, the Packers sit in the 9th spot in the NFC. The four teams ahead of them are the Giants, Cowboys, 49ers, and the Commanders. The Packers have to beat out two of these teams. Can they do it?
The NFC East Will Beat Up On One Another
With the new playoff format, it is technically possible that all four teams in one division can make the playoffs. What makes this unlikely is that the teams within a division have to play one another. The Packers are hoping the NFC will beat each other up. The Giants and the Commanders have two games against each other. The Eagles also have yet to play the Giants as well and have two matchups late in the season. The Cowboys have to play the Commanders and the Eagles one more time in the back half of the season. This is great news for the Packers. The teams ahead of them are guaranteed to gain some losses.
Outside of the divisional games, the toughest games for the NFC East are as follows. The Packers’ playoff chances rest of a couple of these teams picking up some losses.
Commanders: at Falcons, at 49ers
Cowboys: at Vikings, at Titans
Giants: at Vikings
The San Francisco 49ers
The only team outside of the NFC East the Packers are chasing is the San Francisco 49ers. This team currently holds the 7th seed in the NFC so the Packers’ playoff chances may rest on beating them in the standings. The toughest games that the 49ers have left are at Seahawks, vs. Dolphins, and vs. Bucs. They currently sit at 5-4 and even if they lose those three toughest games, they would still be at 10-7. The 49ers have been dealing with injuries and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo can often be inconsistent.
What Are The Packers’ Playoff Chances?
The Packers’ playoff chances are definitely in the category of longshot chance. The odds are not impossible but they will need a lot of help. I think the Commanders are the easiest team to see the Packers overtaking. They have an extremely tough schedule for the rest of the season. This will not be enough for the Packers to get in. The most likely team the Packers can catch I believe is the Cowboys. The Giants have an easy schedule the rest of the way and the 49ers always seem to weasel their way in. The Cowboys’ schedule is much tougher and they have a history of collapses.
The path is there. It is a very narrow path but the Packers’ playoff chances were always going to be slim after a 3-6 start. This is the fun of the expanded NFL playoffs. More teams are still in it and the rest of the season is going to be fun to watch.
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