Plotting out Packers path to the playoffs entering Week 17

The Packers need to win out.
Green Bay Packers
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What do the Green Bay Packers need to happen to make the playoffs?

Two weeks remain in the regular season. Green Bay visits the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17 before hosting the Chicago Bears.

Matt LaFleur's team almost certainly must win both. According to the New York Times playoff predictor, the Packers will have a two percent chance of making the playoffs if they lose to the Vikings. Even if they win this week, a loss to Chicago would give them only a 23 percent chance. However, win both, and the Packers' chances will sit at 95 percent.

Here's a look at the NFC playoff standings entering Week 17:

  1. 49ers (11-4)
  2. Eagles (11-4)
  3. Lions (11-4)
  4. Buccaneers (8-7)
  5. Cowboys (10-5)
  6. Rams (8-7)
  7. Seahawks (8-7)

The Packers remain in the hunt, along with three other teams tied at 7-8, including the Vikings. It makes Sunday's matchup against Minnesota so crucial. The loser is effectively out of the playoff race.

How can the Packers make the playoffs?

While there is a way for Green Bay to make the playoffs without winning its two remaining games, it's highly unlikely. The only realistic path to the postseason is beating Minnesota and Chicago, requiring only a little help from elsewhere.

Here's how the Packers can make the playoffs in the final two weeks of the regular season:

  1. Green Bay wins its final two games against Minnesota and Chicago
  2. LA Rams OR Seattle loses one of its remaining two games
  3. Green Bay and Atlanta aren't in a two-way tie at 9-8

The Packers need some help from teams playing against the Rams and Seahawks, but there is one unlikely scenario that would see Green Bay and Atlanta tied at 9-8. If it's a two-way tie, the Falcons would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. A Falcons loss to the Chicago Bears would end those fears this week.

Realistically, the Packers will get in if they win out, and either the Rams or Seahawks lose one more game. That should do it.

Here's a look at their remaining schedules:

  • Packers: at Minnesota, vs. Chicago
  • Rams: at NY Giants, at San Francisco
  • Seahawks: vs. Pittsburgh, at Arizona
  • Falcons: at Chicago, at New Orleans

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