At 10-3 and ahead in the NFC North by a considerable margin, the Green Bay Packers have to be feeling great about their chances of locking up another division title.
Week 15 sees the Packers travel down to Maryland to play the 8-5 Baltimore Ravens, and more than one win is on the line. There is a realistic scenario where the Packers can leave Week 15 with the NFC North crown.
How the Green Bay Packers can win the NFC North in Week 15
Winning the NFC North is 100% a reality for the Packers in Week 15, and the good news is that Green Bay controls its own destiny.
The Packers can clinch the NFC North simply by picking up a win or, at the very least, a tie against the Ravens.
The other scenario is kind of a “back door” route, but it will still get the job done.
The Packers are in a great position to get their 11th win of the season
Though anything can and does happen in the NFL, the odds look to be stacked in Green Bay’s favor heading into the contest against Baltimore.
Yes, road games are tough in the NFL and the Ravens do boast an awesome home-field advantage thanks to a typically great crowd and engaged fan base. If the season ended today, it’s worth noting that the Ravens would be in the AFC playoffs, as they are currently in first place of the AFC North and ranked as the fourth seed in the AFC playoff picture.
This is a good team the Packers are going up against, but Green Bay does have several notable advantages.
The biggest advantage Green Bay has is that Ravens’ star quarterback Lamar Jackson is going to enter this game hobbled, and that’s if he can even play. Jackson suffered a right ankle sprain that knocked him out of Baltimore’s loss to the Browns this past weekend. Head coach John Harbaugh has said that he expects Jackson to play, but just how effective will the usually explosive and dynamic quarterback be with a bum ankle?
Jackson hasn’t practiced all week, and he’s officially listed as questionable heading into the contest. Harbaugh’s statement on Monday seems ages ago.
Even if he can play, and he may not be able to, Green Bay’s elite defense should be able to tee-off on the hobbled quarterback.
Holding onto NFC’s No. 1 seed has to be the main priority for Green Bay
All this clinching talk is a formality for the Packers. They’ve been among the best teams, not just in the NFC, but in the NFL, all season. The playoffs are a baseline expectation for a Green Bay team potentially in a “last dance” type of season with Aaron Rodgers and even star wideout Davante Adams.
We’ve all essentially known they’d get in. That was clear sometime around the middle of the season. At that point, it was just a question of when and how.
There are actually multiple other scenarios outside of clinching the NFC North that could see the Packers clinch a playoff spot in Week 15.
Here’s the official list, according to NFL.com.
- NO loss or tie + SF loss OR
- NO loss or tie + PHI-WAS tie OR
- NO loss or tie + LAR loss + SF tie OR
- SF loss + PHI-WAS tie OR
Getting into the playoffs is fine and dandy, but right now, the Packers need to be focused on holding on to the NFC’s No. 1 seed. That would guarantee that the road to the Super Bowl goes through Green Bay and Lambeau Field. The Packers would also be afforded a first-round bye as the top seed, which would be huge for a team that has been extremely banged up this season.
The Packers took hold of the No. 1 seed after beating the Bears last weekend to improve to 10-3 on the season. The Arizona Cardinals were beaten by the Rams, which downgraded them to 10-3. The Packers defeated the Cardinals earlier in the season, which gave them the head-to-head tiebreaker over Arizona. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also have a 10-3 record, but based on conference record, Green Bay is still ahead of Tampa because the Packers are 8-2 against NFC opponents while the Bucs are just 6-3. For the record, the Cardinals are also 6-3 against the NFC.
Basically, the Packers are not only closing in on the NFC North crown, but they’re in the driver’s seat in the conference as a whole as well.
The Packers control their destiny. If they beat the Ravens, Browns, Vikings, and Lions, they’re guaranteed to play playoff football in the friendly (and cold) confines of Lambeau Field.