Packers: ‘Everything is in front of us’
GREEN BAY — Micah Hyde doesn’t necessarily have to act hopeful, since he’s generally an upbeat fellow anyway. But the Green Bay Packers second-year defensive back was certainly expressing optimism at the team’s playoff prognosis – and with good reason: It’s not as bad as it might’ve felt after Sunday’s loss at Buffalo.
“Everyone’s a little disappointed in how we performed yesterday because we feel like we were the better team, but at the same time, we didn’t lose sight of any of our goals yet,” Hyde said Monday, one day after the Packers’ 21-13 loss to the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. “We still know we have to win out.”
Although coach Mike McCarthy’s weekly mantra about his team’s playoff situation – “Everything we want to accomplish is in front of us,” he said again after Sunday’s loss – isn’t entirely accurate anymore, the Packers still control much of their own postseason destiny.
If the 10-4 Packers win their final two games, they would earn the NFC North title and secure the No. 2 seed in the NFC – and the first-round playoff bye that would come with it. It’s that simple.
That would mean winning at Tampa Bay next Sunday and then beating the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on Dec. 28.
“I don’t think we’ve shaken any confidence. I think we know what we need to do, we know what we need to accomplish,” special teams act Jarrett Bush said Monday. “Everybody’s got to look at themselves, especially myself, and play better. Hands down, that’s what needs to happen. I believe that we will do that. I’m confident. It’s a tough loss. As a competitor, you look forward to the next competition to redeem yourself.”
If the playoffs started today, the Packers would be the No. 6 seed as a wild card behind division leaders Arizona (11-3), Detroit (10-4), Dallas (10-4) and New Orleans (6-8) and fellow wild card Seattle (10-4).
Even if the Packers beat the Bucs next Sunday and Detroit loses to Chicago (5-9), the Packers would still have to beat the Lions on Dec. 28 to win the division because of Detroit’s 19-7 victory on Sept. 21 at Ford Field.
A second loss to the Lions, who haven’t won a game in Wisconsin since 1991, would give them the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Packers.
Having won all seven of their home games so far this season, McCarthy, Rodgers and others have acknowledged that the No. 1 overall seed and homefield advantage throughout the postseason is their goal. But the loss to the Bills means Green Bay would need help to achieve that goal.
Basically, the Packers need the Seahawks to beat the Cardinals next Sunday, then turn around and lose – at home – to the St. Louis Rams in their regular-season finale.
Under those conditions, the Packers would finish 12-4 and the Seahawks would be 11-5. If the Packers and Seahawks were to finish with the same record, the Packers would lose the tiebreaker because of their 36-16 loss at Seattle in the Sept. 4 regular-season opener. If Arizona does lose to the Seahawks and the Packers and Cardinals each ended up 12-4, the Packers would win a tiebreaker with the Cardinals based on the common opponents tiebreaker.
Of course, all of these what-if scenarios are predicated on the Packers winning their last two games – and that’s where the focus lies.
“Nothing’s changed. We’ve still got to go out and win football games. That’s the nature of the business,” defensive tackle Mark Daniels said. “Our job description is to win games, and that’s what we’re supposed to do regardless.
“I don’t care what’s going on outside this room. All I care about is Tampa Bay, and that’s what’s most important right now is getting on to this game.”
Listen to Jason Wilde every weekday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on “Green & Gold Today” on 540 ESPN, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonjwilde.
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