Both Christmas Games Have Major Playoff Implications – NBC Sports

Green Bay Packers v Arizona Cardinals

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The NFL got lucky with the scheduling of its two Christmas games, as both games (Browns-Packers at 4:30 p.m. ET and Colts-Cardinals at 7:15) have major playoff implications.

The 11-3 Packers are currently in the lead to earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC, which comes with a bye week and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. If the Packers win all three of their remaining games they’ll be the No. 1 seed, but a loss to the Browns today would significantly hinder their chances and make the race for the top spot wide open over the final three weeks of the season.

The 7-7 Browns are currently on the outside looking in to the AFC playoff picture, but with an upset today in Green Bay, they would suddenly have a clear path to the playoffs, with games remaining against the division rival Steelers and Bengals. A loss today doesn’t eliminate the Browns from playoff contention, but it does make them extreme long shots.

The 10-4 Cardinals are locked in a tough battle with the Rams for the NFC West title. A win today would keep the Cardinals as the favorites in their division, as they own the division record tiebreaker over the Rams. But a loss today would drop the Cardinals behind the Rams in the division and make Arizona more likely to have to start the playoffs on the road as a wild card.

The 8-6 Colts need a win in Arizona today to stay alive in the AFC South race; if the Colts lose the Titans clinch the division. And with a win today the Colts would stay in first place in the wild card race and make Indianapolis almost certain to make the playoffs.