The Playoff Picture

Get that playoff beard growing, Aaron! WARNING: Hypothetical-laced post ahead. Proceed with caution.

We all know what's on tap this weekend: a rematch with NFC North division rival Minnesota in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. But what comes next?

Green Bay occupies the NFC's third seed, which means that if they should win this weekend, they'll be off to San Francisco for a rematch of their Week 1 game with the 49ers, a team that's been as tough as anyone in the league this year.

If the Packers beat the Vikings and the 49ers, things get a bit more complicated. As the third seed, the Packers could possibly host the NFC Championship, but they'd need help. Number one seed Atlanta will host the lowest seeded winner of this weekend's games, which would be Minnesota if they pull the upset but could also be either Seattle or Washington.

If Green Bay wins on Saturday, the winner of the Seattle/Washington will head to the Georgia Dome. If Atlanta wins, they'd host Green Bay (assuming two Packer wins) in the NFC Championship. If Seattle or Washington were to knock off the Falcons, they'd come over to Wisconsin for the NFC Championship (again, assuming two Packer wins).

What does all this mean as far as the Packers' chances for making the Super Bowl? Well, a few things. Hosting the Vikings is an obvious blessing: Minnesota has yet to win a game outdoors this year, although that's not necessarily indicative of any future outcomes. Still, the Packers would no doubt rather play them at home than at the Metrodome again.

Traveling to San Francisco would be tough, but it may be as much of a benefit as a curse. San Francisco's powerful defense would likely be even more powerful in an inclement weather situation, and Green Bay's aerial assault may benefit from warm San Francisco temperatures.

NFC Championship possibilities are admittedly hazy at this point, but hosting Seattle would be much preferred to playing in their house of horrors on the West Coast. The same goes for Washington, although with the wild card that is RGIII manning the helm for the Redskins, it's hard to say that they'll be any less difficult to play at home as opposed to on the road.

Playing at Atlanta for the NFC Championship could be the most interesting possibility. Green Bay has had remarkable success there lately, highlighted by Aaron Rodgers' performance for the ages in the Georgia Dome in the 2010 Playoffs. Green Bay matches up pretty well with the Falcons, but there's plenty of work to be done before any championship talk can really begin.

Jon Meerdink