It’s True. Packers in Exact Same Boat as Vikings.

Different Story
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings square off against their most hated foe on New Year’s Eve, welcoming the Green Bay Packers to U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 17.

It’s True. Packers in Exact Same Boat as Vikings.

Minnesota has lost back-to-back games versus the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions, severely dampening their once-promising playoff hopes. The hodgepodge of quarterbacks after Kirk Cousins, including Joshua Dobbs, Nick Mullens, and Jaren Hall for a nanosecond, has not provided the special sauce required for stability. Go figure, huh?

Packers in Exact
Tork Mason-USA TODAY Sports.

But the Vikings’ season isn’t dead yet. Minnesota’s one big hope is to topple the Packers and Lions in Weeks 17 and 18 while getting proverbial “help” from other teams. Minnesota needs one of these four games to result in a single Rams or Seahawks loss, with Minnesota, of course, defeating the Packers and Lions:

Week 17:
Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants
Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks

Week 18:
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

Jefferson Ready for
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Got it? Well, here’s the interesting part, especially pertaining to Vikings-Packers this weekend — the exact scenario applies to the Packers.

Green Bay must defeat the Vikings, beat the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field, and then request a single loss from the Rams or the Seahawks in their next four total games. An easy way to think about it? Take the Vikings’ playoff criteria and duplicate it for the Packers.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

That is — Vikings and Packers fans are in the same boat, cheering for their team to win in Weeks 17 and 18. Meanwhile and thereafter, Vikings and Packers faithful want the same thing: One solo loss from Los Angeles or Seattle.

Of course, whichever team loses between the Vikings and Packers is virtually eliminated from Wildcard contention. The loser would require crazy what-ifs from the Rams, Seahawks, Saints, and Falcons, which translates to those teams all losing out. That won’t happen.

The winner of Vikings-Packers doesn’t quite control its own destiny but will enjoy a damn good shot at entering the postseason. For context, because the 49ers lost to the Baltimore Ravens on Christmas, San Francisco might have to win its next two games to achieve a 1st-Round bye. That would make 49ers-Rams ultra-meaningful, meaning the Rams could reasonably lose at San Francisco.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

And if that happens, 49ers over Rams in Week 18, a team with a two-game winning spree — the Vikings or Packers — would waltz into the playoffs, probably on track for a Wildcard date at the Lions or Eagles.

Memorize the Vikings’ main playoff scenario — win two games and ask the Rams or Seahawks to drop one single game — and copy-paste for the Packers. It’s that simple.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.