Green Bay Packers playoff scenarios are both simple and complex heading into the final weekend of the NFL season. The simplest playoff scenario is for the Packers to beat the Detroit Lions to clinch the NFC North and a spot in the 2017 NFL Playoffs. The Packers are favored by four points and given a 61.3 percent chance of winning by the ESPN matchup predictor. The latest odds have shifted further in favor of the Packers, despite the Lions getting to host this game in Detroit to wrap up the NFL regular season.
As the updated NFL standings show, the Packers and Lions have identical 9-6 records. That has created a tie for first place in the NFC North and a situation where the winning team in Week 17 will clinch the division. Winning the division also guarantees a first-round home playoff game, making it possible for the Packers or Lions to take either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the NFC Playoffs. Losing this game could result in one of the NFC North teams missing the postseason entirely.
Within the Green Bay Packers playoff scenarios, there are several different paths that the game on January 1 could take. In a best-case scenario, the Packers beat the Lions and the San Francisco 49ers beat the Seattle Seahawks. That would leave the Packers as the No. 3 seed and an opportunity to host the second Wild Card team in the NFC Playoffs. If the Washington Redskins beat the New York Giants, then it becomes Green Bay vs. Washington, with Detroit going home for the postseason.
If Green Bay beats Detroit and Seattle beats San Francisco, then the Packers will host the New York Giants on Wild Card Weekend. The Giants have already clinched the first NFC Wild Card spot and the No. 5 seed in the conference. Shifting the playoff scenarios just a bit, if the Packers win, the Seahawks lose, and the Redskins also lose, then the first-round playoff game would become a rematch of Green Bay vs. Detroit. It would at least guarantee that an NFC North team makes it to the divisional round of the postseason.
There is also a worst-case situation within the Green Bay Packers playoff scenarios. If the Packers lose to the Lions and the Redskins beat the Giants, then quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be sitting at home during the 2017 NFL Playoffs. The Packers would fall to seventh place in the NFC under that scenario, with the Lions clinching the NFC North and the Redskins taking over the second Wild Card slot. For the Packers, Lions, and Redskins, Week 17 presents a situation where each of the three teams controls its own destiny.
The final scenario for the Packers to make the playoffs would revolve around losing to the Lions on January 1. If the New York Giants beat the Washington Redskins, then the Packers still make the playoffs as the No. 6 seed. In that situation, the Packers would go on the road to play against the No. 3 seed. If the Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers, then they Packers vs. Seahawks game would take place at CenturyLink Field during Wild Card Weekend. If the Seahawks lose to the 49ers, then the Packers would travel to play the Lions in the playoffs.
It’s going to be a busy weekend in the NFL, as many Week 17 games will shape how the NFL playoff brackets look. With all games taking place on January 1, it will raise the level of excitement in nearly every football city across the country. While there are a number of Green Bay Packers playoff scenarios that will be on the table, the easiest way to ensure things go well is for the team to simply beat the Detroit Lions at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
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