Week 16: Titans (10-4) @ Packers (11-3)
Root for: a Green Bay Packers victory
With a Packers win: CHI potentially gets GB in Week 17 with nothing to play for (w/ NO and SEA losses)
With a Titans win: The Bears potentially get Packers in Week 17 with the No. 1 seed up for grabs.
The pitchforks are up. For longtime Bears fans, there’s probably come a time, likely through pride, where you’ve made the internal decision to never root for the Green Bay Packers. Under any circumstance. Consider Week 16 a chance to make an exception.
With an assist from the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15, the Packers will move one step closer to the NFC’s No. 1 seed when they duel the Tennessee Titans on Sunday Night Football.
The next two teams in the NFC pecking order, the Saints and Seahawks, both sit at (10-4) with favorable schedules down the stretch.
The Packers control their own destiny even with a loss this week. But with a chance to put speculation to bed early, on primetime at Lambeau? They would be unwise to disregard a chance to rest, especially given their injury luck through history. Green Bay’s star running back Aaron Jones put that into perspective when asked about it earlier this week.
"“Ah, it’s very critical,” Packers running back Aaron Jones said of earning the No. 1 seed. “We want everything to run through Lambeau and we know we control what happens. And so, we’ve just got to continue to play at a high level and put four complete quarters together and come out and play physical football.”"
Just four quarters. Not eight. Four.
This also relies on a loss from both the Saints (vs. MIN, @ CAR) and Seahawks (vs. LAR, @ SF), since they have better win percentages than Green Bay in common games.
But, if Green Bay loses this game, and Seattle and New Orleans win in Week 16, the Packers will still have the inside track to the No. 1 seed just by beating Chicago. One has to hope it doesn’t come to that, though.
In an ideal world, the Green Bay Packers walk into Lambeau Field with little to prove, and even less to play for. Rodgers is undefeated in Week 17 situations against the Bears, and 7-2 against them in December overall.
The Bears will be up against enough math over the next two weeks. It’s worth rooting for them to avoid this one.