Through 12 weeks of the NFL season, the Green Bay Packers are currently sitting at 9-3 and second place in the NFC Division. As it sits, the Cardinals have the top spot with the Buccaneers, Cowboys, Rams, 49ers, and Washington Football Team rounding out the remaining playoff spots. It’s important to know that this year, only the top overall seed receives a first round bye. Other than that new change, the rest of the playoff rules remain the same.
Packers and the One Seed
According to playoffstatus.com, the Packers hold a 31% chance to win the top overall seed while the Cardinals boast a 50% chance. This comes at a bit of a surprise given the remaining schedules for the two top teams. Take a look.
- vs. Bears
- @ Ravens
- vs. Browns
- vs. Vikings
- @ Lions
It’s possible the Packers could be favored in each of their remaining games but if they weren’t, you’d have to believe it would be on the road against the Ravens. Green Bay will also look to avenge their Week 11 loss to the Vikings. The Vikings will be without Dalvin Cook for a minimum of two weeks, due to a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum. The injury to Cook isn’t expected to be season ending so it will be interesting to see when he returns.
The Cardinals schedule, on paper, appears to be much more difficult. Here’s what they have left.
- @ Bears
- vs. Rams
- @ Lions
- vs. Colts
- @ Cowboys
- vs. Seahawks
The results of these games is largely going to come down to the health of DeAndre Hopkins and Kyler Murray. The tandem has been sidelined ever since their week 8 loss to the Packers. The key games in this final stretch will be against the Rams, Colts, and Cowboys. I see this schedule being much tougher than Green Bay’s in the final weeks.
Teams To Watch
Up until the WFT and Seahawks game last night, the Vikings held the last wild card spot. Minnesota will look to control their own destiny. They have better percentages to make one of the wild card games than the WFT does. The Dalvin Cook injury will certainly play a factor but Alexander Mattison is a proven backup.
The Saints are another team that is not out of the playoff picture. Sean Payton is a championship winning coach and an offensive genius. News broke this week that “Swiss Army Knife,” Tayson Hill is taking first team reps and could draw the start this week over Trevor Siemian. Hill definitely brings a different element to the Saints offense. Combine Hill as QB1 with a tough defense and the hopeful return of Alvin Kamara, I don’t think people will be surprised to see the Saints in the playoffs.
Lastly, the WFT is not to be overlooked. Yes they currently hold the seven seed but we are talking about the NFL. The seven seed will likely be a revolving door of teams as the final weeks play out. The WFT is currently on a three game win streak beating the Buccaneers, Panthers, and finally the Seahawks. Their defense has played exceptionally well despite the loss of defensive end, Chase Young. If Heinicke and company can limit turnovers, run the ball, and play solid defense, the chance for them to make the playoffs for a second consecutive year is very possible.
The NFC playoff picture is going to be exciting as the season wraps up. Injuries, COVID, and weather could all play a major factor in the positioning of each team after the final regular season game. It’s safe to say that this stretch of the year is certainly exciting, especially if you’re a Packer fan. The team will look to get healthier through the Bye Week and into the final 5 games of the season.