The Green Bay Packers’ playoff future is pretty simple… until it isn’t.
The simple part is this: beat the Detroit Lions and you’re in.
The more complicated part is this. The Packers could end up as high as the No. 3 seed or they could end up sitting on their couches next week.
So let’s start at the top. The Dallas Cowboys are locked into the No. 1 seed in the NFC at 13-2. The No. 2 seed will come down to the Atlanta Falcons (10-5) and Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1). Seattle would have to win and Atlanta would have to lose for the Seahawks to end up with the No. 2 seed. Even if both Atlanta and the Packers finish at 10-6, Atlanta is the higher seed because of the head-to-head win.
Here’s what needs to happen for every other possibility to come to fruition.
No. 3 seed: Packers beat the Lions, Seahawks lose to 49ers.
No. 4 seed: Packers beat Lions, Seahawks beat 49ers.
No. 5 seed: The New York Giants are locked into the No. 5 seed.
No. 6 seed: Packers lose to the Lions, Redskins lose to the Giants.
No playoffs: Packers lose to the Lions, Redskins beat the Giants.
The Washington Redskins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the only other two teams alive for the playoffs, besides those that we’ve discussed. Tampa Bay would need a miracle to make it, so for practical purposes, we are not including them in this discussion.
Washington, which plays the Giants Sunday afternoon, will make things simpler. If they lose, the Packers are in regardless. With that in mind, the only games that are of interest besides or own this week are Seattle-San Francisco and Washington-Giants.