After trailing the Dallas Cowboys by 23 points at halftime, the Green Bay Packers were able to pull off one of the most improbable victories during the 2013 season by scoring five touchdowns in their first five possessions of the second half. The only possession they didn’t score on included three kneel downs by backup quarterback Matt Flynn.
Although the victory does keep the Packers in contention for the NFC North title, and by extension a playoff berth, they still need help to get themselves into the tournament. The Packers first need to win both of their remaining games and have the Bears and the Lions to each drop one game. The Packers do travel to Chicago in week 17, which simply means the only outside help they need will come against the Lions, who play on Monday Night Football this week.
The Cowboys’ loss to the Packers in dramatic fashion also changes the NFC East. The Eagles still hold a one game lead over the Cowboys in the division with two games to play despite losing to the Vikings earlier in the day on Sunday. Had the Eagles been able to beat Minnesota, they would have suddenly faced a “win and in” situation over the next two weeks.
Now, however, the Eagles’ playoff situation is rather simple. With a victory in week 16 and a loss by the Cowboys, the Eagles would win the NFC East. Alternatively, a victory over the Cowboys in the final week of the season would also do the trick.
The Cowboys and Eagles may be heading towards yet another NFC East de-facto championship game in week 17. Two years ago, the Giants beat the Cowboys in the season’s final week to win their way into the playoffs, leaving the Cowboys to sit at home during January. Last season, the Redskins pulled off the same feat in the final week of the season. It’s possible that the NFC East could come down to the final game of the year once again, and history would seem to be in opposition to the Cowboys.
With just two weeks left in the season, the NFC playoff picture is a mess. In the AFC, most of the teams that will make the postseason are evident with only the sixth seed truly up for grabs. The NFC is a whole different story with the third, fourth, fifth and sixth seeds still unclear. Next week, the playoff picture will likely start to become more clear, but for now, the Packers are still alive.