More likely to win out: Vikings or Packers?

The Week 16 showdown in Green Bay could make or break the Vikings' playoff chances.

Aaron Rodgers is on record, via ESPN, saying he believes the Packers will win out and make the playoffs. Chad Greenway is on record saying the Vikings need to run the table to give themselves a shot at the playoffs.

The experts over at CBS Sports don't think either team will make the playoffs, but they do mention the Packers as a team that will just miss while not even factoring in Minnesota.

Whatever the case, each team might need to win out to get in. So which is more likely to do it?

Vikings schedule: at Jaguars (2-10), vs. Colts (6-6), at Packers (6-6), vs. Bears (2-10)

Packers schedule: vs. Seahawks (7-4-1), at Bears (2-10), vs. Vikings (6-6), at Lions (8-4)

Minnesota is favored by 3 points in Jacksonville whereas the Packers are 3-point home underdogs against Seattle. But anything goes at Lambeau Field, and with the Vikings on a major losing skid, anything could happen in Florida on Sunday.

In Week 15 the Vikings should be home favorites over the defensively challenged Colts while the Packers go into Soldier Field as likely favorites against the Matt Barkley-led Bears. Nobody will be picking Chicago to win, especially since the Bears haven't beaten the Packers at home since Week 3 of the 2010 season.

Christmas Eve showdown

Then it gets crazy on Christmas Eve at Lambeau when Minnesota and Green Bay square off for the second time. There are a ton of questions that will impact the game:

  • Will Adrian Peterson be back?
  • Will Harrison Smith still be out with a bad ankle?
  • What will the weather be like?
  • Will either team have anything to play for?
  • Which Packers defense will show up?

Green Bay is the most likely loss on Minnesota's remaining schedule, which is why it's incredibly important that the Vikings take care of business the next two weeks. And it would help a ton if the Packers fall to Seattle.

How critical is this game? Extremely, according to ESPN's Bill Barnwell.

"The Vikings need to win this game to have any realistic prayer of getting into the postseason. Their playoff odds, already dim at 16 percent, would fall to 1 percent or so with a loss to Green Bay. Even if they won their three other games -- a realistic proposition, given they play the Jaguars, Colts and Bears -- the Vikings would have only a 5 percent chance of advancing past Week 17."

Let's speculate

Let's be positive and predict the Vikings win their next two and the Packers split the next two games. It is the most likely scenario considering the odds in play.

It would put Minnesota at 8-6 and the Packers at 7-7 entering the holiday showdown. If this proves true, a Vikings win would in Green Bay would eliminate the Packers. But a Packers win would put them in a tie with the tiebreaker going to whoever has the better conference record.

Current conference records: Vikings 4-6, Packers 4-4

Again, Green Bay losing to Seattle would serve the Vikings in more than one way because it would help in a potential tiebreaker. The best the Vikings can do is 6-6 against the NFC while all four of Green Bay's remaining games are against NFC teams.

If Week 17 matters, the Vikings will have a huge edge because they're playing at home against the lowly Bears while Green Bay would have to win in Detroit. And the Lions might be fighting for a first-round bye then.

Of course, none of this matters if the Giants, Redskins and Buccaneers keep winning.

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