It might seem strange but after being considered the best team in the NFL for the past month—one game and one bad performance have put the Green Bay Packers playoff hopes in jeopardy.
No need to panic…yet. The Packers still control their own destiny in the 2014 NFC playoff race. Despite a 21-13 loss to the Buffalo Bills last Sunday, Green Bay controls its own destiny. Two wins and not only are the Packers in the playoffs, they are the No. 2 seed…at least.
However, in the difficult NFC, the Packers’ loss puts them in a tenuous position. They are just one game ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles and even though Green Bay holds the tiebreaker, the Packers could, even with a win, go into the Week 17 showdown versus Detroit without a playoff spot clinched. Even worse, if the Packers and star quarterback Aaron Rodgers fail to rebound and beat the lowly Tampa Bay Bucs Sunday, Green Bay could find itself needing to beat Detroit to get in, with a loss leaving it out.
Two things Packer fans can find comfort in is the fact that head coach Mike McCarthy’s team tends to play very well after a loss. This season, Green Bay has responded to every loss with a win. The Packers beat the Jets, Bears and Bears after losses this season and after the way they played in Buffalo, the Packers should be itching the get back on the field.
The other thing Green Bay fans can feel good about is the fact that the Detroit Lions have not won a football game in the state of Wisconsin since 1991. Rodgers has only lost to the Lions twice as a starter and in one of those games, he missed the second half due to a concussion. McCarthy also has a stellar record against Detroit, posting an incredible 14-3 record against the Lions and a perfect 8-0 mark at home.
That means if Green Bay can rally the troops, get Rodgers and the rest of the Packer offense playing like its normal self and defeat the Bucs—Green Bay will have history, Rodgers and McCarthy on its side in Week 17 as the Packers try to win their fourth consecutive NFC North title. The point though is that the Packers now have to win their final two games to get where they want to go. The margin for error is gone and even though that is concerning, maybe it will be a good thing.
Expect a motivated Packers team Sunday. They should play with something to prove and like their season is on the line, because it is. And one loss could mean the so-called best team in football a short time ago—is now out of the playoffs altogether.