Packers in must-win mode


The good news?

If the Green Bay Packers win the rest of their games, then they will win the NFC North and make the playoffs.

And the bad news?

That is about the only path the Packers (5-5) have to make the playoffs.

If the Packers lose to either the Detroit Lions (6-4) on Thanksgiving Day or the Chicago Bears (6-4) in Week 17 — and both those teams avoid a complete collapse in the rest of their games — the Packers are likely to lose the NFC North, and with it a chance at the playoffs.

The Packers’ path to a wild-card berth is even harder to map out. San Francisco (6-4) and Philadelphia (6-5) each have better records and tie-breakers against the Packers. Carolina (7-3) and Arizona (6-4) are also ahead of the Packers.

The Packers were in a perfect playoff position just three weeks ago. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone and a three-game losing streak has the Packers feeling desperate.

“Hell yeah,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday when asked if there was a sense of urgency. “It’s all over the locker room. … We know exactly where we are in the season. I’m not big into playoff picture, I think it’s a waste of time.”

The coach says he’s focusing the attention of the team on what they can do.

“I’m trying to have tunnel vision right now and laser focus on what we’re trying to do,” quarterback Scott Tolzien said. “You don’t want to make it something bigger than it is.

“No question there’s a sense of urgency, but you still try to stay within yourself.”

If the Packers beat the Vikings on Sunday, the Thanksgiving Day game against the Lions will be the toughest test. That task would be made a lot easier if Rodgers is back by then.

This week the quarterback says he’ll have to practice twice before he’ll be allowed to play in a game.

“In order to play I’m going to need to be on the field two days before we play,” Rodgers said this week. “That’s Friday of this week or Tuesday of next week.”