Pregame warmup: Packers can clinch playoff spot with win

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 21, 2014 – 10:40 am

TAMPA — The Packers can clinch a playoff spot for the sixth consecutive season with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium today.

That’s the biggest fallout from Saturday’s loss by the Eagles to the Redskins. That result clinched a playoff spot for the Lions and puts the Packers one win away from clinching.

If the Packers do earn that playoff spot today, next week’s game vs. Detroit at Lambeau Field would be to decide which NFC North team goes into the playoffs as the division champion and which goes in as a wild card. If the Packers lose today, the Lions can clinch the division title with a win over the Bears.

The other game factoring into Green Bay’s playoff scenarios today is the prime-time NFC West showdown between Arizona and Seattle. If the Cardinals win, they lock up the No. 1 seed for the playoffs. If the Seahawks win, they control their own destiny for the No. 1 seed and would get it by winning again next week.

The Packers control their fate as it relates to a first-round playoff bye. If Green Bay wins its final two games, it will be no worse than the No. 2 seed, will earn a first-round bye and will play at home on the divisional playoff weekend (Jan. 10-11).

Weather update: Temperatures are in the mid to high 70s today in Tampa with clouds and very light winds. There is a chance for rain, but not until later in the day, most likely toward the very end of the game or after it is over.

Up front: The Packers are expected to have their starting offensive line intact for the 13th consecutive game. RT Bryan Bulaga, who left last week’s game in the fourth quarter with a concussion, was upgraded from questionable to probable on the injury report on Saturday, a sign that he has gained medical clearance through the concussion protocol.

Bulaga is the only starter on the offensive line to have missed a game this season, and it came way back in Week 2. Since Week 3, the group of Bulaga and David Bakhtiari at the tackles, Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang at the guards, and rookie Corey Linsley at center has started every game.

Quasi-home game?: It will be tough to tell until the game gets going, but some estimates say Raymond James Stadium could feature 50 percent Packers fans today. The stadium holds approximately 66,000 people, so that could mean as many as 30,000 Green Bay fans in attendance.

The Packers are 3-4 on the road this season and will look to end their regular-season road slate with a .500 mark.

Past horrors: Green Bay’s last two visits here have not been kind. For more details on the recent history the Packers must overcome today, click here for this week’s “One Last Look.”

TV map: Here’s a look at the FOX TV map for the noon CT kickoff today:

Map courtesy of 506sports.com

 


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