The Green Bay Packers (11-3) already know they will return to the NFC playoffs for the first time in three seasons. With two weeks left in the regular 2019 NFL season, they are now looking to have the strongest playoff spot possible.
The Packers go into the monumental Monday night game of Week 16 against the Vikings (10-4) as the No. 1 seed today. 2, behind the NFC West Leading Seahawks (11-3). Given the summit nature of the conference, there are many results for where Green Bay will eventually end.
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Following is an analysis of these sowing scenarios:
NFC Grid Image: How Packers Have Seed No. 2 or no. 1
The Packers will probably have to win to reach No. 1 and win the NFC playoff advantage at home as three other teams – the Seahawks, Saints and 49ers – have the same record.
If the Packers finish 2-0, it will be at least No. 2, as this will ensure that they keep the conference conference over the Saints. Making No. 1 then requires the Seahawks or 49ers to lose before one of them hits the other in Week 17.
Going 1-1 won’t cut it for the Packers for No. 1 because either the Seahawks or the 49ers – whoever wins the NFC West – would be in front of them.
If the 49ers get to the worst 1-1 and finish 12-4 to match the Packers, they will have the advantage of a head-to-head tiebreaker. If the Seahawks win this divorce and at worst remain even with the Packers at 12-4, both teams will have the same 9-3 record. Then it comes down to the common game tiebreaker. The Seahawks (4-0) have the edge there because they have beaten the 49ers, Eagles, Vikings and Panthers, while the Packers (2-2) have beaten the Vikings and Panthers but lost to the 49ers and Eagles.
How Packers Have Seed No. 3
All this is before even factoring the Saints. If the Packers go 1-1 to finish 12-4, the Saints could win and move to 13-3. Then, the NFC West champions and the Saints, the NFC South South homebuyers, push the Packers down one point.
But what if the Packers and Saints finish 1-1 and both are 12-4? Say the Saints lose to the Titans but win to the Panthers. Then both the Packers and Saints have 9-3 conference records. The Common Game tiebreaker then looks at how teams fight in games against the Cowboys, 49ers, Panthers and Bears. The Packers are 4-1 there and so are the Saints.
Then comes the power of victory. The teams that the Saints have defeated today have a combined 73 wins. The Packers’ winning teams have 66 combined wins. The saints would eventually fall into this scenario.
Say the Saints beat the Titans and lose to the Panthers to match the Packers at 12-4. In this case, the Packers have the best conference record (9-3 vs. 8-4) to stay ahead of the Saints.
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How Packers Have Seed No. 6
This can only happen if the Packers go 0-2, so they are likely to finish second in the NFC North behind the Vikings, assuming the team beats the Bears in Week 17. If the Packers go 1-1, losing to the Vikings, The Lions, the Packers will win the division with a better division record.
If the Packers go 0-2, they’ll end up 11-5. Should the Vikings win the division at 12-4, then the Packers would fall to No. 6, regardless of the loss to the 49ers or the Seahawks. Should the 49ers lose, when the Packers do, it’s up to the 49ers to face them with the heads-to-head tiebreaker. If the Seahawks lose when the Packers do, it’s up to the Seahawks to head into the tiebreaker of the common game.
The Packers are hoping to get two games at Lambeau Field, where they are 7-1, against the road, where they are only 4-2. To gain this advantage at home, they must win twice from Green Bay to close out the season.