Green Bay Packers are now NFC No.1 seed

The Green Bay Packers were definitely not at their best on Sunday, winning a 24-20 victory over Jacksonville. It’s been a great day for the Packers, however, when it comes to the NFC playoff race.

New Orleans started the day as the No.1 seed in the conference, followed by Seattle and Green Bay. All three teams entered Sunday with 6-2 records.

Green Bay and New Orleans both won and improved to 7-2. Thanks to Seattle’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Packers edged out the Saints and claimed the No.1 seed in the NFC.

How do you ask yourself?

Well, the Packers beat New Orleans, 37-30, on September 27 and hold the head-to-head advantage over the Saints in a two-way tie.

When Green Bay, New Orleans and Seattle were stranded in a three-way tie, the Saints held the tiebreaker because of the conference record. Seattle’s loss was therefore great news for Packer Nation.

Tampa Bay has the third best record in the conference at 7-3. Seattle, Arizona and the Rams – who play in NFC West – are tied for the fourth-best record at 6-3.

Currently, the top seven teams from each conference will advance to the playoffs. This means that only the No.1 seed from each conference would get a pass.

In recent years, when each conference had six playoff teams, the top two seeds got passes.

The NFL has discussed the possibility of increasing the playoff field to eight teams per conference. If that happened, there would be no bye.

For now, however, the Packers are number one in the NFC and would have the first playoff weekend off.

“Having warmer weather or dome teams here in December and January has always been, I feel like a good advantage for us,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Sunday afternoon. “We threw the ball well in bad weather, we won big games in bad weather.

“You know I think it even does some things because it does, everything moves a bit slower, but getting a home game in January, with or without fans, will definitely be an advantage for us.

Here’s how the race between the Packers and Saints plays out over the next seven weeks.

Green Bay (7-2)

Home games (4): Chicago, Philadelphia, Caroline, Tennessee

Road games (3): Indianapolis, Detroit, Chicago

Combined opponent record: 32-31-1

Opponent’s winning percentage: .508

Analysis: Green Bay still has four of seven home games, but the Packers haven’t played particularly well there.

“The big concern for me is that it seems to be more in our home games than when we’re on the road,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “I understand: it’s a strange year. Certainly, we are used to having fans to help bring that energy to our football team and we don’t have any at the moment, unfortunately. This is the situation and it is what it is. We need to do a better job of delivering this juice internally.

Despite Green Bay’s poor home performances, few teams want to come to Lambeau in January. So if the Packers can continue to follow a manageable schedule, they’ll be tough in the playoffs.

New Orleans (7-2)

Home games (3): Atlanta, Kansas City, Minnesota

Road games (4): Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Caroline

Combined opponent record: 26-36-1

Opponent’s winning percentage: .421

Analysis: The Saints have won six straight games and have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league.

Green Bay’s head-to-head victory over New Orleans is incredibly important, however, and the Saints will need to pass the Packers to win a two-team tiebreaker.

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