The Green Bay Packers missed an opportunity last week for a big win over the Atlanta Falcons. That win would have positioned them strongly in the NFC race and in their own division.
Yet, thanks to the Chicago Bears upset victory over the Minnesota Vikings Monday night, the Packers still ended Week 8 with some positive news.
You see, the Vikings loss to the Bears is significant. It gives Green Bay the opportunity to take back the division tiebreaker, Minnesota currently owns thanks to its win over the Packers in Week 2.
However, if the Packers win their final three division games, they have one each against the Lions, Vikings and Bears, they would own the tiebreaker. Green Bay would finish with a 5-1 NFC North record, while the Vikings, thanks to last night’s loss would finish 4-2 in that scenario.
That would mean if both teams finish with identical records, which seems like a much better possibility now, the Packers would take the division crown.
For Green Bay, it makes things simple. Stay within a game of Minnesota through Week 15. Then, all the Packers would need to do in order to reclaim the NFC North is beat Minnesota at home and Detroit on the road in the season’s final two weeks.
This may not seem like a big deal to some. But a few weeks ago, when Green Bay was 3-2 and Minnesota was sitting at 5-0, the outlook certainly didn’t look promising for the Packers.
Now, they have some margin for error, although admittedly, not much.
But last night’s loss just goes to show that all the talk of the importance of division games in the NFL, really isn’t talk. And if Green Bay can remain perfect in division play the rest of the year, it has a strong chance of taking back the NFC North crown.