Wed, 26 Jan 2022

Packers' magic number to clinch NFC North is three

04 Dec 2021, 17:12 GMT+10

Green Bay sits half game out of conference’s top spot at Week 13 bye Mike Spofford

GREEN BAY - It's back! That's right, with December here and the Packers on their bye week, Path to the Playoffs has returned.

For those not familiar, this is a weekly stretch-run segment on that lays out where the Packers stand in the playoff picture. Most importantly, it also indicates the upcoming game results that would be most beneficial for Green Bay, providing a road map for fans' rooting interests in other games.

So let's get to it.

In Week 13, the Packers are 9-3 and 3½ games up in the NFC North over the 5-6 Vikings. Green Bay also is a half game back of 9-2 Arizona for the top record in the entire conference, which is a coveted spot as it carries with it the only postseason bye as well as home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

Starting with the division, to borrow a baseball pastime, the Packers' magic number to clinch the NFC North is three. That means, from here on out, any combination of Green Bay wins and losses by the second-place team, currently Minnesota, totaling three will wrap up the division crown.

With that in mind, as Minnesota travels to Detroit (0-10-1) on Sunday, root for the Lions to get their first victory of the season and knock that magic number down to two.

Regarding the rest of the NFC playoff picture, here's the current seeding order of the top five teams in the conference based on overall records:

1. Arizona (9-2), 2. Green Bay (9-3), 3. Tampa Bay (8-3), 4. Dallas (8-4), 5. LA Rams (7-4).

The Packers have head-to-head tiebreakers over both the Cardinals and Rams, so in order to get a higher seed than either of those potential NFC West champs, Green Bay would just have to match their record (unless a three-way tie with another division champ is created, but no need to explore those possibilities right now).

At this point, it will help the Packers' playoff prospects for all of the above teams to take another loss, making the rooting interests pretty easy.

With Arizona at Chicago (4-7), Tampa Bay at Atlanta (5-6), and Jacksonville (2-9) at LA, it's worth cheering for the Bears, Falcons and Jaguars to pull upsets.

That said, if there's one possible exception to that simple layout, it would be this: The Rams are currently two games back of the Cardinals in the NFC West, and those two teams play one another next week on Monday Night Football, so it might not be the worst thing for LA to win this week to make its Week 14 showdown with Arizona that much more meaningful.

In that context, it could make sense to cheer for the Rams in order to keep as much pressure on the Cardinals as possible in the NFC West. But LA is also just 1½ games behind Green Bay in the overall picture, with plenty of season left. So keep that in mind, too.

Enjoy the games, everybody.

Up Next All Videos The Bye Week: Packers enlist Brian Baumgartner to fill in at Lambeau Field All Videos Total Packers with Matt LaFleur: Rasul Douglas All Videos Total Packers: 1-on-1 with Rasul Douglas All Videos Packers Daily: Nov. 30 All Videos Packers Unscripted: Bring on the bye All Videos Rock Report: Poetry in Motion All Videos LaFleur says it's to time rest and recharge All Videos Hackett: Yosh Nijman 'stepped it up' against Rams All Videos Drayton taking 'top-to-bottom' approach when self-scouting special teams All Videos Barry: 'Rashan fought and battled to get back for us, proud of him, tough as nails' All Videos Packers Daily: Nov. 29 All Videos Packers unveil Charles Woodson's name on Lambeau Field façade All Videos Remix: Packers vs. Rams All Videos Rasul Douglas hauls in pivotal pick-six: Listen to the radio call All Videos Game Highlights: Packers vs. Rams | Week 12 All Videos Rodgers proud of Packers' response to adversity All Videos LaFleur: 'You appreciate the times you win hard-fought football games' All Videos Adams says Douglas has capitalized on his opportunity All Videos Dillon says it's great to have the trust to get the job done All Videos Clark: Packers 'have to keep stacking wins and ride momentum' All Videos Rasul Douglas: 'We still haven't played our best ball yet' All Videos Highlights: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers' biggest plays vs. Rams All Videos Kenny Clark buries Matthew Stafford on third-down sack | Packers vs. Rams All Videos PICK-SIX! Rasul Douglas jumps route, takes it to the house | Packers vs. Rams All Videos AJ Dillon catches TD pass on opening drive of second half | Packers vs. Rams All Videos Aaron Rodgers floats 28-yard pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling | Packers vs. Rams All Videos TOUCHDOWN! Aaron Rodgers hits Randall Cobb for six | Packers vs. Rams All Videos Aaron Rodgers connects with Davante Adams on deep 43-yard strike  | Packers vs. Rams All Videos Aaron Rodgers' pass placement is immaculate on 54-yard connection with Randall Cobb | Packers vs. Rams All Videos SHORT! Adrian Amos upends Darrell Henderson for fourth-down stop | Packers vs. Rams All Videos TOUCHDOWN! Aaron Rodgers fakes handoff, runs it in | Packers vs. Rams All Videos Rashan Gary sneaks up on Stafford, Preston Smith recovers fumble | Packers vs. Rams All Videos Davante Adams shakes Jalen Ramsey with release, catches laser | Packers vs. Rams All Videos AJ Dillon surges up the middle on fourth-down conversion | Packers vs. Rams All Videos Davante Adams catches a quick 15-yarder to move the chains | Packers vs. Rams All Videos Final Thoughts: Rams vs. Packers All Videos Trailer: Packers vs. Rams All Videos Packers Daily: Nov. 26 All Videos Equanimeous St. Brown making the most of his opportunity All Videos Billy Turner offers high praise to Yosh Nijman

More Atlanta News

Access More

Sign up for Atlanta News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!