Even before taking the field Sunday, the Green Bay Packers were assured of making their fourth straight trip to the NFC playoffs.
Thanks to results from Saturday's games and the round of early kickoffs on Sunday, the Packers clinched a postseason berth regardless of the outcome of their 3:15 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The scenario that clinched the playoff berth for Green Bay involved a series of losses by four teams Saturday and Sunday:
First, Pittsburgh beat the New York Giants, 33-30. The Carolina Panthers then lost to the Atlanta Falacons 34-31 Saturday night. In the early games Sunday, a 12-7 loss in Philadelphia by the Dallas Cowboys and a 24-5 defeat of the Chicago Bears by the Houston Texans finished off the necessary results.
Still on the agenda for the Packers is locking up their third straight NFC North Division championship. GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman's team could clinch the division Friday when they travel to the Metrodome to face the Minnesota Vikings in a 2:00 p.m. Christmas Eve kickoff.