Updated NFC playoff picture after Packers save season against Panthers in Week 16

Green Bay Packers
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The Green Bay Packers made it difficult, but they held on for an important road victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Jordan Love completed 17 of 28 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns. It was an impressive performance, as Love was without Jayden Reed, Christian Watson, and Luke Musgrave and then lost Dontayvion Wicks in the first half.

The less said about the defense, the better. Joe Barry's unit needed the clock to save them from a potential game-tying kick from the Panthers. Carolina put up 30 points for the first time all season, and Green Bay's defense had no answer.

But a win is a win, and the Packers kept themselves in the NFC playoff race by beating the Panthers.

Packers victory in Week 16 keeps them in the NFC playoff picture

NFC playoff standings

  1. San Francisco 49ers (11-3)
  2. Detroit Lions (11-4)
  3. Dallas Cowboys (10-4)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-7)
  5. Philadephia Eagles (10-4)
  6. Los Angeles Rams (8-7)
  7. Seattle Seahawks (8-7)

Playoff matchups if the season ended today

  • Detroit Lions (2) vs. Seattle Seahawks (7)
  • Dallas Cowboys (3) vs. Los Angeles Rams (6)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (5)

The Packers are one game out of the wild-card spots. They got some help with the Lions beating the Vikings, but that's about it. Victories for the Rams and Seahawks keep them a game ahead of the Packers.

Green Bay almost certainly has to win its final two games against Minnesota and Chicago.

No matter what happens between now and the end of the regular season, there should be little doubt about Joe Barry's future with the Packers. After allowing a perfect passer rating to Baker Mayfield in Green Bay's humiliating loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, his defense gave up the Panthers' best offensive performance of the season.

The Packers stand no chance in the playoffs if their defense doesn't improve, and that's unlikely while Barry is calling the plays.

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