GREEN BAY – Here we go.
We've reached that time when the weekly "Path to the Playoffs" segment becomes "Road to the Super Bowl," laying out the postseason picture and possibilities as they relate to the Packers.
With getting a first-round bye and the No. 2 seed in the NFC, Green Bay has three possible opponents for its divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field on Sunday, Jan. 12, at 5:40 p.m. CT.
The Packers (13-3) will face the highest remaining seed after wild-card weekend, so your rooting interests in the opening round will depend on whether there's a team you'd prefer Green Bay to face (or not face) next weekend.
The Packers will find out their opponent Sunday as the NFC Wild Card games unfold.
Green Bay could know its opponent after the first game, when No. 3 seed New Orleans (13-3) hosts No. 6 Minnesota (10-6) at 12:05 p.m. CT. If the Saints win, they're coming to Lambeau Field in the divisional round. Case closed.
If the Vikings win, the Packers will get the winner of the second game – No. 4 Philadelphia (9-7) hosting No. 5 Seattle (11-5) at 3:40 p.m. CT – with Minnesota going to No. 1 San Francisco next week.
So, if you'd rather the Packers face a team with a lower seed and worse record than the Saints, root for NFC North rival Minnesota to pull an upset in New Orleans in the first game. Then the second game matters to Green Bay. Otherwise, it doesn't, and the winner of Game 2 is off to San Francisco.
In the AFC, No. 1 seed Baltimore and No. 2 Kansas City have the byes and are awaiting their opponents for next weekend as well.
Those matchups won't be known until both AFC Wild Card games on Saturday are finished, because the 3 vs. 6 game is the second contest – Tennessee (9-7) at New England (12-4) in prime time at 7:15 p.m. CT.
If the Patriots win, they go to Kansas City and the winner of the first game – No. 5 Buffalo (10-6) at No. 4 Houston (10-6) at 3:35 p.m. CT – goes to Baltimore.
If the Titans win, they go to Baltimore and the Buffalo-Houston winner goes to Kansas City.