My thoughts on the upcoming game are dominating my mid-week wait until Sunday. Though not a must win by any means, the Packers will be presented with a golden opportunity when they take the field against the Colts in Indianapolis.
The Colts are a quality team, and most favor them over Green Bay despite the Colts having one more loss than the 7-2 Packers. Otherwise, however, the only team that might be favored against the Pack over their last six games is the Tennessee Titans. The Titans and the Colts are currently tied atop the AFC South, with 6-3 records. While the Titans have lost three of their last four games, the Colts have won three of their last four.
The Colts have lost to a couple of good teams: the Browns in Week 5 by a 32-23 score, and the Ravens, by a convincing score of 24-10 in Week 9. Yes, the Browns are a surprisingly 6-3 on the year. Indy’s other loss was to Jacksonville to start the season.
If. . .if the Packers prevail on Sunday, their six remaining games are: twice against the Bears (5 wins), against the Lions (4 wins) and against the Eagles and Panthers (3 wins each).
If the Pack beats the Colts, they’ll likely finish the regular season at either 13-3 or 12-4. The Cardinals, Rams, and Seahawks, who as of Thursday night, all have three wins, so they can do no better than 13-3.
The Hawks, who just beat the Cardinals, still have the Rams to play, and then finish the season against the 49ers in Santa Clara – who could by then have several of their injured players back.
The Cards have a tough remaining schedule: two games against the Rams, and also a game against the 49ers.
As for the Rams, they might have the toughest schedule of the contenders: two games against the Cards, and also games against the Seahawks, 49ers, and the 7-3 Buccaneers.
Should the Packers defeat the Colts, they would seem to have the easiest path to becoming the top seed in the National Football Conference. One reward for that is of course drawing a bye in the first week of the playoffs; the other presumed benefit would be that the well-rested Packers would play their first playoff game at home at Lambeau Field in January.
If all this isn’t enough to inspire Green Bay on Sunday, then perhaps nothing will. In terms of Super Bowl prospects, the contest on Sunday looms as the most critical game of the year for Green Bay.