For the first time in three years, the Green Bay Packers are heading to the playoffs.
Their win over the Chicago Bears Sunday, plus the Los Angeles Rams’ defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys Sunday evening, means the Packers have made the postseason for the ninth time in the period Aaron Rodgers has been a starting quarterback in Green Bay.
It also is the first time ever that a first-year Packers head coach has made the playoffs. Matt LaFleur does what Curly Lambeau, Vince Lombardi, Mike Holmgren and Mike McCarthy did not in their tenures which all included championships.
To clinch the NFC North title
With the Packers’ win, their magic number of victories to get the NFC North title is also one – but with a caveat.
The Packers now own both a 1-game lead on the Vikings and two levels of tiebreakers in the NFC North race, but the results of those tiebreakers could still change by the time the season ends.
It now means that the Packers only have to win one of their remaining two regular season games to win the division, and one of them does not need to include their Dec. 23 contest at Minnesota.
First round bye and home field chase
The Packers are now in control of their destiny in the chase for the NFC’s No. 2 seed and a first round bye.
The Packers and New Orleans both have three losses, and the Packers own the tiebreaker on New Orleans.
This means that if the Packers win out, they get Wild Card weekend off and a home game in the divisional playoffs, most probably against New Orleans or an NFC Wild Card team that most likely would be Minnesota or either the 49ers or Seattle Seahawks (whichever team doesn’t win the NFC West).
Home field advantage in the NFC playoffs
In the chase for the NFC’s No. 1 seed, the Packers need a lot of help.
Three things are necessary for that to happen:
– The Packers must win their remaining games
– The San Francisco 49ers must lose one game
– The Seattle Seahawks must lose one more game
Considering the fact that those teams have matchups against each other (49ers-Seahawks on Dec. 29), the odds of all those losses happening are, to be kind, not the best.