First off, I, DJ, am back at Lombardi Ave. I would love to thank Scott from Raising Zona for taking over for me over the Thanksgiving holiday while I was caught up in some family business that needed to be taken care of.
Unfortunately, as I was taking care of my business, the Packers weren’t taking care of theirs with two tough losses to NFC South teams, making them 0-4 against that division for the year. The Packers last-minute 35-31 home loss to the Carolina Panthers came less than a week after getting shredded 51-29 by the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. The losses have dropped the Packers to 5-7 on the season, two games behind the first place Minnesota Vikings, a game behind the second place Chicago Bears, and five games ahead of the Detroit Lions with only four games to play. That might not be enough time for a rebound.
The Packers have the 4-7 Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars, both playing each other tonight on Monday Night Football, left on their schedule along with a jaunt to Solider Field to play the Bears and they close the season with the Lions at home. The combined record of the four teams remaining is 14-32, and will be 15-33 after the Jags and Texans play tonight. That seems easy enough, but nothing has come easy for the Packers this season. And besides, winning the last four games to put them at 9-7 does not guarantee them a playoff spot at all.
The Packers currently sit at 12th place in the NFC. That is six spots out of a playoff spot with the Atlanta Falcons, Panthers, and all the NFC East teams not named the New York Giants (they’ve got that division, in my opinion) are in contention for the wild-card spots. The only hope for the Packers is the division, which they will have to win-out to achieve. The Vikings have a good chance to stumble with the Arizona Cardinals, Falcons, and Giants (I’m not counting the Lions here folks) left on the schedule. They could very easily go 1-3 down the stretch, which is what would have to happen if the Packers were to win out. The Bears schedule is slightly easier, with the Jaguars, Saints, and Texans along with the head-to-head matchup with the Packers left on their schedule.
Right now, due to the strength of schedules, I would have to give the division to the Bears. That doesn’t mean the Vikings can’t win it or that the Packers can’t win it. The bottom line for the Packers winning it though is that they absolutely HAVE to win and they need a lot of help. The division is the only way they can get in.