GREEN BAY – The Packers should know by kickoff on Sunday where they’ll be headed if they can beat the Redskins.
The Seattle-Minnesota result will determine the destination for the Green Bay-Washington winner for the next round of the NFC playoffs.
With the Seahawks and Vikings kicking off at 12:05 p.m. CT, that game likely will end by the time the Packers and Redskins get started at 3:40 p.m. CT, at which point all the moving NFC postseason parts become more solidified tournament brackets.
As the No. 6 seed, the Seahawks would travel to No. 1 Carolina if they beat the Vikings. As the No. 3 seed, the Vikings would travel to No. 2 Arizona if they beat the Seahawks.
So, the Packers-Redskins winner will face the Cardinals if Seattle wins. Or, the winner at FedEx Field gets the Panthers if the Vikings win.
In either case for No. 5 seed Green Bay, the next round would be a regular-season rematch in a place the Packers already lost, but getting through No. 4 Washington – the only one of the other five teams in the NFC playoff field Green Bay did not face this season – is all that matters at the moment.
In the AFC, the sequence of games on wild-card weekend is the opposite of the NFC. The No. 5 and 4 seeds play first, as Kansas City visits Houston on Saturday afternoon, so the winner won’t know where it’s headed until No. 6 Pittsburgh and No. 3 Cincinnati are done playing later that evening.
If the Steelers win, they would travel to No. 1 Denver, sending the Chiefs-Texans winner to No. 2 New England. If the Bengals win, they would visit the Patriots, with the Chiefs-Texans winner getting the Broncos.
Trying to get a gauge on who has the edge on wild-card weekend based on home-field advantage? Good luck.
Over the last eight postseasons, dating back to 2007 (when the Packers first made the playoffs under Mike McCarthy), the home teams have pulled off a sweep in the first round only once, in 2011.
Otherwise, there were three years the home and road teams split the games 2-2 (’07 through ’09), plus just as many 3-1 wild-card weekends for home teams (’12, ’14) as 1-3 marks (’13, ’10).
Overall, that’s an 18-14 record for home teams in the opening round since ’07. So, history says at least one or more road teams are likely to emerge victorious this weekend.
You hear that, Packers?