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The Green Bay Packers are 9-3 and already closing in on clinching a playoff spot. In fact, it’s possible a win over the Chicago Bears next week will be enough to clinch a spot. But who should the Packers be rooting for during the bye week?
Considering the playoffs are all but guaranteed at this point, there are two obvious goals ahead: win the division, and clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
As noted by Mike Spofford of the team’s official site, the Packers’ “magic number” in the NFC North is three, meaning any combination of wins or losses by the second-place Minnesota Vikings will clinch the division title. So root for the winless Detroit Lions to upset the Vikings on Sunday.
As for the No. 1 seed, two games are most important for the Packers. Matt LaFleur’s team currently sits behind the 9-2 Arizona Cardinals, who go on the road to play the rival Bears on Sunday. Rooting for the Bears won’t be easy for Packers fans, but a Cardinals loss would be super helpful to the cause. Remember, the Packers hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over Arizona. The 8-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also a potential hurdle to getting the No. 1 seed, so a loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday would also be beneficial.
The Los Angeles Rams have lost three games in a row (including last Sunday in Green Bay) and are now 7-4, but a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars would essentially knock Sean McVay’s team out of the running for the No. 1 seed. The Packers don’t need this result, but it wouldn’t hurt.
According to the New York Times playoff predictor, the Packers’ chances of getting the No. 1 seed in the NFC would improve to over 50 percent if all four results listed below happen on Sunday.