Win, and they're in. It's that simple for the Green Bay Packers in Week 18. Standing in their way of a playoff berth are the Chicago Bears. Like the Detroit Lions in the same situation a year ago, the Bears would love nothing more than to deny the Packers a spot in the postseason.
There will be twists and turns around the NFL in the regular-season finale. Many playoff spots are up for grabs. New teams can move into playoff positions, while others can improve their seeding and potential wild-card matchups.
It could lead to some wild outcomes, possibly for the Packers. Here are three scenarios that could play out for Green Bay in Week 18.
1. Packers lose to Bears, set up game vs. Aaron Rodgers' Jets
Green Bay will host the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, or New York Jets at Lambeau Field in 2024. We'll find out which team on Sunday.
It will be determined by the AFC East team that finishes in the same position in their division as the Packers in the NFC North.
Aaron Rodgers' Jets are locked into third position in the AFC East. Green Bay enters Week 18 in second place but could fall to third with a loss. The Minnesota Vikings would have the chance to overtake the Packers by beating the Detroit Lions.
If Green Bay drops to third in the NFC North, it would set up a fascinating matchup between the Packers and Rodgers at Lambeau in 2024.
2. Packers lose to Bears but still make playoffs
The Packers will make the playoffs with a win on Sunday, but there is another path, even with a loss. Here's what would need to happen:
- Vikings and Seahawks must lose
- AND Bucs or Saints must lose
In any situation, the Lions must beat the Vikings, and the Arizona Cardinals must defeat the Seattle Seahawks. If those things happen, Green Bay would also need the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or New Orleans to lose.
Minnesota plays at Detroit, and the Lions can still clinch the No. 2 seed. Seattle visits Arizona, Tampa Bay takes on Carolina, and New Orleans hosts Atlanta.
It's a long shot, but the Packers could clinch a wild-card berth with a loss to the Bears.
3. Packers secure playoff showdown against Mike McCarthy
There are two ways the Packers could set up a wild-card showdown against Mike McCarthy's Cowboys. Either the two teams remain the No. 7 and No. 2 seeds, respectively, or the Packers move to No. 6 and the Cowboys fall to No. 3.
Dallas will clinch the No. 2 seed with a win over the Washington Commanders. Green Bay will secure the No. 6 or 7 seed by beating Chicago. It would come down to the Los Angeles Rams' game against the San Francisco 49ers. A Rams win or tie would keep them ahead of the Packers, but a loss to the Niners would see Green Bay overtake them.
What a story that would be. McCarthy won a Super Bowl as head coach of the Packers in 2010. They could go head-to-head in the playoffs. A first-round exit for McCarthy could cost him his job, adding another storyline to this matchup. The Packers could get McCarthy fired by beating the Cowboys.
We love McCarthy and wish him well in the playoffs. Just not if the Packers head to AT&T Stadium next week.