Packers' road to playoffs doesn't require win over Chiefs, but still plenty to gain Sunday
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Moral victories are for bad teams. Over the last month, the Green Bay Packers shook that pesky label with a 3-1 streak that has them back in the thick of the NFC playoff picture. If they’re going to lose a game, a bout with Patrick Mahomes and the 8-3 Kansas City Chiefs would hardly count as a bad one given the conference record and a schedule to close the season that resembles early season SEC fare.
Still, even if Sunday’s tilt with Kansas City doesn’t hold as much sway over the Packers’ playoff outlook, there’s so much to build on with Jordan Love and this ascending team of young, dynamic playmakers. Even if Green Bay doesn’t win, hanging with the Chiefs would be so much more than some pathetic “good loss.” It could be a building block.
Imagine how important it would be if they won.
Depending on what model you like, the Packers either have a 49% chance of making the playoffs (ESPN model), a 50% chance (New York Times), or a 58% chance (DVOA) to get to the dance. All of them assume a loss upcoming to the Chiefs. Green Bay is a 6.5-point underdog for a reason, and any model worth its gigabytes will chalk that one up in the loss column.
But the rest of the schedule breaks incredibly well for the Packers as has been chronicled throughout the season. The final five games feature the who’s who of the who’s not in the NFL right now. Green Bay will play an incredible four teams currently slated for picks in the top seven of the 2024 NFL Draft!
Live look at Love and Co:
And most of the models believe if the Packers win, and only win, those four games, there’s a strong chance they get to the postseason. That’s because the Seattle Seahawks already have five losses and get the Dallas Cowboys this week before the San Francisco 49ers twice to close. They’re looking like an eight-loss team.
The Minnesota Vikings took a damning dump to their playoff chances Monday night in one of the worst displays of “football” I can remember on prime-time airways. Getting to six losses with games against the Packers and Detroit Lions twice forthcoming. Beating the Vikings would put a very real five-game winning streak to close the season in play for Green Bay, a streak that would all but assure them entry into the playoffs.
All of the aforementioned models put the Packers’ chances of getting into the postseason as a 10-win team over 90%.
But what’s perhaps more important is showing they can hang with the best teams in the league. Love lighting up the Los Angeles Rams was fun, but it pales in comparison to stepping on the neck of a Lions team with a stranglehold on the division and, before Thanksgiving, a decent shot to be the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC. Proving they can beat anyone, or at least play with them, can buoy this team to a late-season surge.