In a press conference after the Packers 24-17 Sunday night loss to the Vikings, Aaron Rodgers broke down the way the Packers would make the playoffs which included winning out and having a little help. But how much help do they actually need?
First and most importantly, they would need to win out to have the best chance of making the playoffs. The Packers are undefeated at home this year which should benefit them as they play a young rebuilding Cardinals (2-9) team next week. Then they continue their home streak with a Falcons (4-7) team that hasn’t looked to the same quality as their high powered offense the last two years, and then finish the season in Lambeau against a hit or miss Lions (4-7) team.
Their biggest challenge will come on the road as they play a solid Bears (8-3) team who’s been 5-1 at home this season. The road challenge for the Packers eases up as they visit the Meadowlands against a Giants (3-8) team who has kept things close against good teams all year. In total these five teams have a combined record of 21-34.
If the Packers do win out, their final record will be 9-6-1. Like Rodgers said, this won’t completely secure them a playoff spot. They will need a “little help.”
Winning the division
The more unlikely scenario would be the Packers winning the division. This would mean the Bears and the Vikings (6-4-1) would have to lose three out of their last five games.
Taking a wild card spot
The more likely scenario would be the Packers taking the second wild card spot from the three 6-5 teams in the hunt: Redskins, Seahawks, Panthers and the one 5-6 team: the Eagles.
Lets start with the team that currently holds the sixth spot right now in the Redskins. Washington would have to lose two of their last five games. With their offseason signing starting quarterback Alex Smith on injured reserve, a two game losing streak, and them playing three out of five games in their division that is slowly improving, there is a chance.
In the current seven spot of the NFC wild card race is the Seahawks. The Seahawks are coming off a big road win in Carolina and would also have to lose two out of five games for the Packers to make the playoffs. These two losses could come against good teams this year in the 10-1 Chiefs and a Packers division rival: the Vikings.
In the eighth spot is the team that the Seahawks just beat in the Panthers, which would again have to lose two out of five games for the Packers to claim the sixth spot. The Panthers are on the downfall losing three games in a row. Two games that they could continue to lose in could come against the high powered Saints that they play twice or the improving Browns who demolished Cincinnati last week.
The Eagles would only have to lose one game for the Packers to make it. The Packers have the easiest ride through the Eagles as they only have to lose once against three winning teams which include the Rams, Texans, or improving Cowboys.
This would calculate to these four teams losing seven games in total for the Packers to make the playoffs.