A victory over the Chicago Bears next Sunday at Lambeau Field will guarantee the Green Bay Packers an NFC wild-card playoff berth, but a loss won’t necessarily eliminate them.
The Packers would still qualify for the playoffs with a loss to the Bears if the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers also lost next week.
But the Packers don’t have to worry about getting help as long as they take care of business against the Bears, who have already clinched the NFC North title.
The Packers will finish with a 10-6 record by winning next week and would claim any tiebreaker with the Giants (9-6) or Buccaneers (9-6).
In the event of a two-way tie, the Packers would win a tiebreaker with the Giants based on their head-to-head victory, and they would claim the tiebreaker edge over Tampa Bay based on strength of victory.
In case of a three-way tie between the Packers, Giants and Buccaneers, Green Bay would get the nod due to a better strength of victory. Here is how that three-way tie would be broken:
1.Head-to-head. This is not applicable since none of the three teams has beaten the other two, and none of the three teams has lost to the other two.
2. Best record in games played within the conference. The Packers, Giants and Buccaneers would all finish with 8-4 records against NFC opponents.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four. The minimum of four common games is not met. The only common opponents that the Packers, Giants and Bucs share is Washington and Detroit.
4. Strength of victory. This measures the combined records of vanquished opponents, and the Packers hold the edge.
Some other potential playoff scenarios to consider:
♦ The Packers would win the tiebreaker over the Giants and Bucs in the event all three teams finish 9-7, again based on strength of victory.
♦ The Packers could earn the No. 5 wild-card seed if they beat the Bears and New Orleans loses its final two games. The Packers would then face the NFC West champion – either St. Louis or Seattle -- on the road in the first round of the playoffs.
♦ The Bears can earn the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye if they beat the Packers next week, or the Eagles lose one of their final two games. The No. 3 seed will host the No. 6 seed in the first round of the playoffs on the weekend of Jan. 8-9, meaning the Packers could open the playoffs at either Chicago or Philadelphia.
NFC PLAYOFF RACE
(Seedings and remaining schedules)
1. FALCONS (12-2)
2. BEARS (11-4)
At Packers (9-6)
3. EAGLES (10-4)
4. RAMS (7-8)
at Seahawks (6-9)
5. SAINTS (10-4)
At Falcons (12-2)
6. PACKERS (9-6)
7. GIANTS (9-6)
At Redskins (6-9)
8. BUCS (9-6)
At Saints (10-4)
Press-Gazette • December 26, 2010