So here are your playoff possibilities for the Packers.
But first, I should note that Tom Foley tried to post a prediction of the Bears win and argues (repeated here) that the Cards will be playing for a first round bye on Sunday. They might be as I suggested in an earlier post on the topic. Since I like this stuff, here is the way it can go.*
If the Packers score more points than Arizona in this coming Sunday's Empty Bowl at the University of Phoeniz Stadium, they will return to Glendale to play the Cards in the first round. No other scenario seems possible.
But if the Cards win, there are four potential scenarios - two of which also lead to a Green Bay-Arizona matchup. In one, the game would not be meaningless for Arizona. Assume that the Vikings lose to the Giants at Minneapolis. (I think this is unlikely, but the Giants are a well coached team that really embarassed themselves in the final game at Giants Stadium.) Assume that the Cowboys then beat the Eagles at home on Sunday to win the NFC East. There would be a three way tie for the second seed in the playoffs and a first round bye. The Vikings would be the first eliminated based on what would be their inferior (8-4) record within the conference. The Cowboys and Cardinals would each have 9-3 conference records, but would win the common opponents tie breaker. Because, under this scenario, the Packers would drop to the number six seed (Philadelphia at 11-5 would be at 5), the Packers would go to Dallas.
That is a tough scenario in that it requires two more contingencies to fall the right way before the Packers and Cardinals kick off. Far more likely is that, by beating the Packers, Arizona would move into a two way tie for the no. 3 seed. No first round bye.
That tie could be either with Minnesota (if they lose to New York) or with Dallas (if they beat the Eagles and win the East). If it is Minnesota, the Cards would win a tie breaker with the Vikings based on head to head competiton and move up to number 3. Because the Packers would tie with the Cowboys and win the tie breaker based on their win over Dallas in November, the Packers would head to Minnesota for another matchup with the Vikings.
If, however, an Arizona win moves them into a tie with Dallas (because Minnesota has won at least one of its last two), they still play Green Bay in the first round. This is beacause they win the tie breaker with Dallas (common opponents) to move up to the 3 seed, but Green Bay will drop to number 6.
Finally, if Philadelphia wins and Minnesota beats New York, Arizona has the four seed and the Packers must have the number five. Once again, the Packers can just take another week at the Renaissance Glendale.
What will happen? Much as I would like to see it another way, I don't think that Minnesota loses their first home game on Sunday. Losing to the Bears was bad and they have some serious defensive issues. If you can't get Jay Cutler to throw more than one pick in a cold weather game, you don't want to be playing Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees anytime soon. If they don't get pressure on the quarterback, their secondary can be had all day. But Favre played a great game in December. Maybe he isn't what we thought he was.The Vikings beat the Giants to the bleat of that obnoxious long horn.
But they don't get a first round bye because the Eagles will beat the Cowboys.
At that point, Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Warner may as well take a knee.
*I temporarily enabled comment moderation which I have now turned off. I have no idea where Tom's comment went.