After Sunday night’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Green Bay Packers’ hopes of making the playoffs are quickly dwindling. Their playoff odds dropped nearly 43 percent since QB Brett Hundley took over for Aaron Rodgers.
Though their record is 5-6, the Packers are still in the hunt to make the playoffs. The Detroit Lions are sitting at a 6-5 record, while the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons are at 7-4.
The Packers still have five games to play this season, and according to Mike McCarthy, “five plus five equals 10” (as reported by ESPN’s Rob Demovsky). It’s absolutely essential for the Packers to win out the rest of the season in order to have a shot at the playoffs.
This seems like a long shot though, as the Packers have a pretty difficult schedule ahead of them.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to Lambeau Field this Sunday, then the Packers are on the road for two weeks, as they travel to Cleveland and go head-to-head against the winless Browns. They then visit the 8-3 Carolina Panthers the following week. The final home game of the 2017 season is against the Minnesota Vikings on December 23, which is then preceded by a New Year’s Eve game against the Lions in Detroit. If the Packers can match their 10-6 season last year, they are more than likely to gain a spot in the playoffs.
Not only do the Packers need to win the next five games, they’re also relying on losses from the aforementioned teams. The Lions need to lose in the upcoming weeks, though their only “tough” game is against the Ravens, and possibly the Packers. The Seahawks need to finish 10-6, which would actually be a great scenario for the Packers, as they defeated the Seahawks in their home-opener this season. The Packers are three games behind the New Orleans Saints, meaning they need the Saints to beat the Falcons twice in the next few weeks, or they need the Saints to defeat the Panthers this upcoming week in order to have a decent shot at the playoffs.
Another scenario that could possibly play out, and the one most Packer fans are rooting for is the Minnesota Vikings completely falling apart during the remainder of their season. The Vikings have a tough road ahead of them as well, as they travel to Atlanta to take on the red-hot Falcons, who defeated the Packers in Week Two– when they still had Rodgers. In order for the unlikely situation of the Vikings completely obliterating their season, the Packers must win their remaining games, and root for Atlanta and Carolina to defeat the Vikings.
If the Packers can win their next five games, and the aforementioned teams’ schedules pan out as stated above, fans could see Aaron Rodgers back on the field. Rodgers, who suffered a collarbone injury in Week Six at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis was seen throwing 35-yard passes prior to the start of Sunday night’s game in Pittsburgh.
The rest of the season for the Packers is absolutely crucial. Since becoming head coach in 2006, Mike McCarthy has missed the playoffs twice, in 2006 and 2008, with records of 8-8 and 6-10.