Stafford will have to overcome a Packers offense once again led by an MVP candidate. Aaron Rodgers has been on fire lately, The Green Bay quarterback hasn’t thrown an interception since a blowout loss to the Titans in November, but he has thrown 14 touchdowns in the intervening weeks. The Packers, not coincidentally, are 5-1 over that stretch.
But our experts aren’t banking on another strong-armed miracle Sunday night.
Or the Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons getting in, while the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks miss out?
They’re far from the likely scenarios. In fact, they’re about as unlikely as it gets, but the NFL has no shortage of wackiness and thinking of the most ridiculous possibilities sure is fun.
Two teams in the NFC East improved to 6-7 on Sunday and a third can do so on Monday Night Football when the New York Giants play the Miami Dolphins. With a Week 16 game between Washington and Philadelphia still on the schedule, the division winner will have to be a seven-win team, at least, barring a tie.
That means the only chance the Cowboys have at the postseason is to win out and hope for a tie at the top of the division. Luckily for Dallas, three of its four wins came against NFC East opponents and a fourth divisional win in Week 17 against Washington would give the Cowboys the tiebreaker over any other team in the division.
That season, the Saints rested starters in Week 17 as well. I played against the Saints that season, with Carolina. We were 7-8; they were 13-2. That game always stands out to me because it was a game like no other one I’ve played. The Saints were playing to not get hurt. They weren’t going hard, they weren’t trying to score. Just bleed out the clock.
I remember the end of the game, they were down and instead of driving to win the game, they just ran it a few times, punted, and the game was over. I had never seen that before. But it worked. They won the Super Bowl.