Playoff Picture Pretty Clear For Packers

The playoff picture for the Packers heading into this Sunday’s home game against Oakland is pretty clear - win, and they’re in as NFC North champions. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Raiders Game Center Notebook: Competition Ongoing At Some Spots Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 4


The Green Bay Packers haven't officially clinched a playoff spot yet, but they're about as close as they can get.

The playoff picture for the Packers heading into this Sunday's home game against Oakland is pretty clear - win, and they're in.

Not only that, but a victory (or a loss by the Detroit Lions, who trail Green Bay by four games with four to play) would give the Packers their first NFC North division title since 2004. And as a division champ, that would guarantee the Packers at least one home postseason game, also for the first time since 2004.

But the Packers aren't looking to simply win the division and get into the postseason. They want to give themselves the highest playoff seed they can, and they're in good position heading into the final four games of the regular season to earn a first-round bye.

All four of the division champions in the NFC - Dallas (11-1) currently leads the East, Green Bay (10-2) the North, Seattle (8-4) the West and Tampa Bay (8-4) the South - are guaranteed at least one home playoff game.

The teams with the top two records among the four division champs earn the first and second seeds, which gives them a first-round bye and a home game in the Divisional playoffs the weekend of Jan. 12-13.

The other two division champs would get the third and fourth seeds and would host a Wild Card game the weekend of Jan. 5-6.

The Packers currently trail the Cowboys by one game in the race for the No. 1 seed, which provides home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. In order to get that, the Packers would need some help, because Dallas would have to lose at least twice for the Packers to jump ahead. If the two teams finish tied, the Cowboys win the tiebreaker based on their victory over the Packers on Nov. 29.

But Green Bay controls its destiny with regard to the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. With a two-game lead over Seattle and Tampa Bay, the Packers can lock up the No. 2 seed with wins in three of its last four games, regardless of how the Seahawks and Buccaneers do.

Should either Seattle or Tampa Bay tie the Packers for the No. 2 seed, the tie would be broken based on each team's conference record. All three teams currently have 7-2 marks against NFC teams.

The New York Giants also have an 8-4 record, same as the Seahawks and Buccaneers, but unless the Giants overtake the Cowboys in the NFC East, they will not be in contention for a home game or a first-round bye. Teams that don't win their division are eligible for a Wild Card spot only, and would play that Wild Card game on the road.

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