Circle the wagons, friends.
Last Sunday night, the Green Bay Packers traveled to Minnesota to face the Vikings in a key divisional match up. The Packers, still struggling with consistency, came up short with a final score of 14-21. With the loss, Green Bay has now fallen to 4-6-1 in the standings, and are only a half-game away from being in the division cellar instead of the 4-7 Detroit Lions. This needs to be the final dagger in the Packers playoff hopes, right?
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers doesn’t think so.
Following the loss to Minnesota, Rodgers was asked what it was going to take to get Green Bay into the playoffs.
He responded, as calm as ever, “We’ve got to go back home, get some rest, beat Arizona. And then come back and beat Atlanta. Then go to Chicago, a place we’ve won a number of times, beat them. Go to New York around Christmas, beat them. Then come home against Detroit, beat them. Get a little help.”
What the Packers can control
Not a lot.
It’s no secret that the Packers really do not control their own destiny anymore. This team needs to win out over the next five weeks to remain in any sort of contention. If they lose one more game, it’s over.
The good news with that is Green Bay is finally entering the easiest portion of their schedule. They excel at home, and will play three of their last five in the frozen tundra. Cold weather and Packers normally make for favorable odds. Especially considering the three home contests will be against the dome/arena teams of Arizona, Atlanta and Detroit. As far as the Packer’s away contests, I can’t take the New York Jets seriously for more than one quarter of football, so I expect a nice Christmas gift for the Packers in that game.
However, the big matchup for Green Bay now comes in Week 15 against the Chicago Bears. The Packers beat the Bears in their season opener in Green Bay, but now they will travel to Chicago to play an 8-3 division leading Bears team that has only gotten better, whereas Green Bay has remained stagnant. Rodgers reassured us by saying Chicago was a place the Packers have “won a number of times,” and that’s true, but no one on Green Bay should automatically expect the Bears game to be a win.
Except Aaron Rodgers, because I’ll blindly believe whatever he says.
What the Packers can NOT control
So, aside from winning out, four out of five things need to happen.
- The Philadelphia Eagles need to lose one game.
- The Seattle Seahawks need to lose two games.
- The Washington Redskins need to lose two games.
- The Carolina Panthers need to lose two games.
- The Minnesota vikings need to lose three games.
I won’t get into a real nitty-gritty breakdown of records and schedules, but as it stands, any of those scenarios can happen. Now recall that four need to happen, while four teams on this list play each other directly. The Redskins play the Eagles twice, and the Seahawks play the Vikings. The Panthers have their own business to worry about, as they play the New Orleans Saints twice over the final three weeks of the season. Minnesota’s scenario is probably the least likely, but they have yet to play the New England Patriots and LA Rams.
That being said, Green Bay cannot concern themselves with the noise for the wildcard. They need to focus on winning every single week and accept “some help” where they can.
Aaron Rodgers said so!