The playoffs were a complete afterthought for the Green Bay Packers just a few weeks ago. Now, they control their own destiny on their path to the postseason.
What a turnaround it’s been for an up-and-coming squad. Green Bay has the NFL’s youngest collection of offensive talent this season and, perhaps ever. They don’t have a wide receiver or tight end who has played two or more full seasons in the NFL. They rely entirely on rookie and second-year pros at those positions.
There have been growing pains, to be sure. However, the team has managed the pain and is focused solely on growth.
Following a massive Week 13 win, the Green Bay Packers are suddenly in control of their own destiny for a Wild Card spot in the playoffs.
The Packers have won three straight games–including two against surefire postseason teams in the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs–and four of their last five. This has put them at 6-6 and catapulted them into the final playoff spot following Week 13.
As it stands, Green Bay holds the seventh and final playoff spot in the NFC and has a 70 percent chance to make the playoffs. They are tied with the Minnesota Vikings (who sit in sixth due to holding a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Packers). The Los Angeles Rams, who the Packers beat to kick off this streak, and the Seattle Seahawks also sit at 6-6. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints are also very much alive at 5-7.
It will be a wild ride over the last five weeks of the season and anything can happen. The Packers, however, control their own destiny. They are a lock for the postseason if they win their last five games. They have a 99 percent chance to make it if they go 4-1 and between an 80-95 percent chance if they go 3-2, depending on how their wins and losses play out.
The Packers also just managed the most challenging part of their schedule by beating the Lions and Chiefs. It’s a lot more manageable the rest of the way with games at the New York Giants (4-8), vs the Bucs, at the Carolina Panthers (1-11), at the Vikings, and vs the Chicago Bears (4-8).
Without a game remaining against a team with a winning record, the Packers have given themselves every opportunity in the world to make the playoffs in a rebuilding season. That may not have been the primary goal this season, but it’s a great result from a team that has been improving weekly for at least the last month.