GREEN BAY – Well, that sure simplified in a hurry, didn't it?
The Week 17 results have put the Packers (8-8) in the best position they could ask for given how this season has unfolded – a win in Week 18 over the Lions on Sunday Night Football gets Green Bay into the postseason for the fourth straight year.
There's one spot available in the NFC, the No. 7 seed, and three teams battling for it. It's win-to-get-in for the Packers. No other help is needed.
Here's the rundown.
Teams vying for NFC's No. 7 seed:
- Green Bay (8-8)
- Detroit (8-8)
- Seattle (8-8)
Week 18 matchups:
- Detroit at Green Bay, 7:20 p.m. CT (NBC)
- L.A. Rams at Seattle, 3:25 p.m. CT (FOX)
No. 7 seed scenarios:
Green Bay gets No. 7 seed with …
- Packers win
Detroit gets No. 7 seed with …
- Lions win AND
- Seahawks loss
Seattle gets No. 7 seed with …
- Seahawks win AND
- Lions win
It's a strange situation, with the Lions rooting against the Seahawks but the Seahawks rooting for the Lions. If the Seahawks join the Packers-Lions winner at 9-8, Seattle owns a head-to-head tiebreaker over Detroit (48-45 win in Week 4) but loses a conference-record tiebreaker with Green Bay (7-5 vs. 6-6), so that's behind the scenarios involving the trio of 8-8 clubs fighting for one spot.
It's made even stranger by the fact that the NFL didn't put the two games at the same time, so the Lions could be eliminated by the time the game kicks off Sunday night at Lambeau Field, or they'll know they're playing for a playoff berth, just like the Packers are.
But the Detroit-Seattle ramifications are for them. For Green Bay, a win is all that matters. Moving on …
Whoever gets that No. 7 seed will be traveling to face the No. 2 seed in the opening round of the playoffs.
There are four possible teams – the Eagles, 49ers, Vikings and Cowboys – that could wind up with the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
We've done our best to lay out all the possible scenarios as they relate to the No. 2 seed. So if you'd prefer a specific opening-round opponent for the Packers should they get the No. 7 seed, here are the matchups and potential rooting interests in Week 18.
Current NFC seeds with one game remaining:
- Philadelphia (13-3)
- San Francisco (12-4)
- Minnesota (12-4)
- Tampa Bay (8-8)*
- Dallas (12-4)
- New York Giants (9-6-1)*
- Green Bay, Detroit or Seattle (all 8-8)*
*seed is locked
Week 18 matchups: (all times CT)
- Minnesota at Chicago, noon (FOX)
- N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia, 3:25 p.m. (CBS)
- Arizona at San Francisco, 3:25 p.m. (FOX)
- Dallas at Washington, 3:25 p.m. (FOX)
No. 2 seed scenarios:
Philadelphia gets No. 2 seed with …
- Eagles loss AND
- Cowboys loss AND
- 49ers win
San Francisco gets No. 2 seed with …
- 49ers win AND
- Eagles win
- 49ers loss AND
- Vikings loss
Minnesota gets No. 2 seed with …
- Vikings win AND
- 49ers loss
Dallas gets No. 2 seed with …
- Cowboys win AND
- Eagles loss AND
- 49ers win
Ya got all that? Good. If not, good enough.
The No. 2 seed will be determined by the time the Packers-Lions game kicks off Sunday night, so whoever gets the No. 7 will know where it's headed next week.