A look at the Green Bay Packers path to the 2022 playoffs

Dec 4, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) talk during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) talk during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

Is it likely? No, not at all. But hey, it’s the bye week, so let’s take a look at what the Green Bay Packers’ path to the playoffs in 2022 looks like as they barely hang on.

Of course, Green Bay making the playoffs begins with them winning their final four games, which comes against the Los Angeles Rams at home, the Miami Dolphins on the road, and then two home games to end the season against Minnesota and Detroit.

If you’re looking for some optimism, the Packers’ offense has been playing better as of late, with their three highest-scoring games of the season coming in three of their last four games. This is in large part due to the play of what has finally become a relatively healthy offensive line, along with a strong run game to lean on and Christian Watson’s emergence as a downfield threat. As Adam Stenavich said recently, when you have those elements, running the offense is that simple.

With that said, as we saw against Chicago against a not-so-good defense, there is still plenty of inconsistencies as well when it comes to moving the ball, and sandwiched in between these three games where Green Bay averaged 30.6 points per game; they put up only 17 against Tennessee. The play of the defense is also worrisome, especially against the Miami and Minnesota offenses that have several playmakers each and a Shanahan-esque scheme with the Dolphins that could really stress Green Bay.

But I digress–the Packers have to win out, which would put them at 9-8 on the season. It’s that simple. However, what isn’t so simple is all of the help they need to get along the way as well.

Currently, the sixth and seventh seeds in the NFC are the two most likely ones up for grabs. The Giants occupy the sixth seed at 7-4-1 at the moment, with Seattle as the seventh seed with a record of 7-5. Just on the outside looking in is Washington at 7-5-1, followed by Detroit at 5-7, the Packers and Falcons at 5-8, and Carolina at 4-8.

Below are the remaining schedules for each of those teams:

Giants: v. Philadelphia; at Washington; at Minnestoa; v. Indianapolis; at Philadelphia

Commanders: Bye; v. NYG; at San Francisco; v. Cleveland; v. Dallas

Seattle: v. Carolina; v. San Francisco; at Kansas City; v. NYJ; v. LA Rams

Detroit: v. Minnesota; at NYJ; at Carolina; v. Chicago; at Green Bay

Atlanta: Bye; at New Orleans; at Baltimore; v. Arizona; v. Tampa Bay

Carolina: at Seattle; v. Pittsburgh; v. Detroit; at Tampa Bay; at New Orleans 

If the Packers win out, that includes beating Detroit, but in addition to that loss for the Lions, Green Bay needs one more from them because of the common opponent tie-breaker being in Detroit’s favor. When it comes to Atlanta, they currently hold the strength of victory tie-breaker over the Packers, which should fall in Green Bay’s favor if they win out, or we can just hope for one more Falcons loss. It’s a similar situation with Carolina, with the Packers needing the Panthers to lose just one of their final five games.

When it comes to New York and Washington, things get a little confusing because of the ties, but both teams hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Packers, which means Green Bay has to finish with a better record than either or both teams (depending on how things play out) in order to get a playoff spot.

This means that the Giants have to finish the season 1-4, which would put them at 8-8-1 overall, and when they face the Commanders, Packers’ fans will want Washington to win. When it comes to the Commanders, they will have to beat New York but then lose their remaining three games to finish the year 1-3 and 8-8-1 overall.

With Seattle, the Packers need them to lost three of their final five games, which would put them at 9-8, and two of those losses have to come against NFC opponents, as that would give Green Bay the tiebreaker with a better conference record.

Of the three scenarios just described for the Giants, Commanders, and Seahawks, two of them need to take place, along with the Packers winning out, in order for Green Bay to sneak their way into the playoffs.

Again, this is all likely a moot point because do we really see Green Bay winning out? If so, some real changes were made over the bye week, especially on defense. But, as Aaron Rodgers, Matt LaFleur, and Brian Gutekunst have all made very clear, Green Bay is still mathematically in the playoff hunt, and if you want some hope along with additional teams to root against in the coming weeks, let this be your guide.