Mike Vandermause column: Green Bay Packers have room for error in road to playoffs – but not much : Packers Insider

Mike Vandermause column: Green Bay Packers have room for error in road to playoffs – but not much

November 14, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Nov 14, 2010 ~ by Mike Vandermause, Press-Gazette

~As the Green Bay Packers enjoy a rare November weekend off, they are sitting in the driver’s seat in the NFC North Division.

It’s not just that the Packers have sole possession of first place with seven games remaining. But their two chief rivals, Chicago and Minnesota, are in a heap of trouble heading into the second half of the season.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers points to the sky after throwing a touchdown pass to Greg Jennings in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in week nine.

The Bears are a fraud with a 5-3 record and are destined to collapse under the weight of a difficult schedule. The Vikings stumbled to a 3-5 start and are on the brink of playoff elimination. They must win seven of their final eight games just to reach 10-6, which is the record they will likely need for a chance to qualify for the playoffs.

Among the primary NFC playoff contenders, the Packers have the most difficult remaining schedule. They face four teams with winning records, and their opponents have a combined 31-26 mark (.544 winning percentage). But because of their 6-3 start, the Packers have a little room for error.

Of their seven remaining games the Packers should beat San Francisco, Detroit and Chicago as prohibitive favorites. In order to finish 10-6 and virtually assure themselves a post-season berth, they would only need to win one of four challenging games left on their schedule: at Minnesota, at Atlanta, at New England, and home against the New York Giants.

Chances are strong that only one NFC North team will qualify for the playoffs. That’s because the Falcons, Giants, Saints and Eagles might just as well punch their post-season tickets now with soft schedules the rest of the way. None of those teams faces opponents with a collective winning record.

Although Tampa Bay remains in the thick of the race at 5-3, the Bucs resemble the Bears in that they aren’t nearly as good as their record indicates and will get slapped back to reality soon.

The sixth and final NFC playoff berth will go to the least lousy team in the sad sack NFC West, where the champion could potentially finish 7-9.

Here’s my NFC playoff seeding forecast:

Full story & Predictions HERE

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