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October

The Contenders: Reviewing the Packers Competition for the Top Seed in the NFC

Could Alex Smith meet Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship game?

The Green Bay Packers haven’t hosted a playoff game at Lambeau Field since losing to the Giants in the NFC Championship on Jan. 20, 2008. After a 7-0 start, the Packers have some people whispering about going undefeated.

Barring injury, the Packers are more talented than any of their remaining opponents. But can they go undefeated? That’s a tall task.

The Packers toughest tests will come after the bye when they travel to San Diego, on Thanksgiving against the Lions, at the Giants and at home against the Bears and Lions.

Lets say the Packers end up 13-3. Would that be good enough for the No. 1 seed in the NFC and homefield throughout the playoffs? I think so. The Saints could give the Packers a run, but Green Bay already has the tiebreaker advantage. San Franscisco and Detroit are still…well, San Francico and Detroit. Both are improved, but not at the Packers’ level. The Giants only have two losses, but they face a brutal schedule down the stretch.

Packers fans should plan on skipping their January house payment. There’s a good chance that money would be better spent on NFC Championship game tickets at Lambeau.

49ers
Record: 5-1
Projected finish: 12-4
Even if you don’t think the 49ers are for real, they still could end up 12-4. I guess it depends how you define for real. If for real means beating the mediocre and bad teams on your schedule, the 49ers are for real. If it means rising up and winning a game or two that you’re not supposed to, I’m not sure the 49ers qualify.

Assuming the 49ers just beat the teams they’re supposed to, they’ll get wins over Cleveland, Washington, Arizona (2), St. Louis (2), and Seattle. According to my Morrison County math, that’s 12-4.

Could the 49ers get the No. 2 seed in the NFC? The Aaron Rodgers-Alex Smith-Mike McCarthy storyline would make for an intriguing NFC championship.

Saints
Record: 5-2
Projected finish: 12-4
How tough is the rest of the Saints schedule? Depends what you think of Atlanta. The Saints play them twice. How about Detroit and Tampa Bay? The Saints play both at home. Will Tennessee be any good by week 14? The Saints play the Titans on the road. The Saints also travel to St. Louis and Minnesota, host the Giants and finish with Carolina at home.

The Saints should win the South, but overtaking the Packers for the top seed will be a stretch.

Lions
Record: 5-2
Projected finish: 9-7
We’ll find out how good the Lions are after their bye week. Detroit travels to Chicago, then plays Green Bay and New Orleans after facing Carolina. Whether or not Matthew Stafford remains upright, the Lions finish with Minnesota, at Oakland, San Diego and at Green Bay.

At best, I see 10-6 in Detroit’s future, but I’m going with 9-7.

Giants
Record: 4-2
Projected finish: 9-7
Don’t worry about the Giants threatening the Packers. They should be 5-2 after beating the Dolphins on Sunday, but after that they play the Patriots, 49ers, Eagles, Saints, Packers and Cowboys. Good luck going .500 during that stretch, Eli Manning.

Falcons
Record: 4-3
Projected finish: 10-6
Here’s the rest of Atlanta’s schedule: at Indianapolis, New Orleans, Tennessee, Minnesota, at Houston and Carolina, Jacksonville, at New Orleans and Tampa Bay.

The Falcons are tough to read because Matt Ryan doesn’t seem capable of adjusting once games start going off script. But that schedule doesn’t seem too taxing. They won’t challenge for a top seed, but 10-6 is doable.

Buccaneers
Record: 4-3
Projected finish: 8-8
The Lions, Bears or Falcons will get a wild-card berth before Tampa Bay.

Bears
Record: 4-3
Projected finish: Who knows?
The Bears are annoying. I don’t want to talk about them. They might go 4-12 or 12-4. Flip a coin.

Cowboys
Record: 3-3
Projected finish: 11-5
The Cowboys sort of remind me of the 2010 Packers. They’ve underacheived the last few years, suffered a few hard-luck losses, and struggle to win close games. All three of their losses are by four points or less.

They’re .500 now, but have games against Seattle, Arizona, Washington and Miami. That’s four wins. Their other games are against Philadelphia (2), Buffalo, the Giants (2) and Tampa Bay. They probably won’t be good enough to challenge for a No. 1 or No. 2 seed, but if they make the playoffs, I wouldn’t mind seeing them lose before meeting the Packers.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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7 Responses to “The Contenders: Reviewing the Packers Competition for the Top Seed in the NFC”

  1. Zach Kruse Zach Kruse says:

    Packers should walk to the No. 1 seed with 14 or 15 wins, barring any significant injury. No doubt in my mind about that. Once the playoffs start, only the Saints and Cowboys give me real pause when thinking about the matchup. All have major flaws, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

      Correction: Only the Saints and Pats in the SB. Maybe the Texans but I doubt it after their injuries.

      I live in TX, and am constantly barraged with local Cowgirls coverage. They are only better than 8 wins this year because their division is pathetic.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

    The one and only obstacle to GB winning homefield this year is themselves. Period. If they play even close to their capability they’ll be 13-3 or better.

    And ROFLOL at your Bears description. Too True!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. @dev_eq says:

    yotto2

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Mojo says:

    The team the scares me the most are the Saints. Not so much for the number one seed, but in the playoffs. Strangely enough, the 49ers playing in such a crappy division might garner the wins needed to challenge the Pack for the number one seeding. Plus they’ve beaten the Lions and TB already this year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Chad Lundberg says:

    Gosh dangit I hate record predictions. I either sound like a homer, or I sound like I completely don’t believe in my team. There’s just no in between.

    However, I really liked your analysis’s on the teams (specially the Bears. I’ve been trying to figure them out forever now).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Russ says:

    Hopefully the Packers will lock up home field advantage early enough to get everyone rested and healthy for the playoffs.

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