There really isn't much gray area. In reality, the playoffs start this weekend at Lambeau Field for the New York Giants (9-5) and Green Bay Packers (8-6). If the Giants win, they are in and Green Bay is out. Simple.
If the Packers manage to win Sunday, the tie-breaker would give them the upper hand on the Giants heading into the final weekend of the season. Even if the Giants were to defeat the Washington Redskins the Packers would make the playoffs by beating the Chicago Bears in their final regular-season game.
So, both teams are in must-win situations that, a few weeks ago, seemed unlikely. At the season's halfway mark, the Giants were 6-2 and were thought by many to be the class of the NFC. The 8-6 Packers have now lost three of four, going from 7-3 to the reality of not making the playoffs if they lose on Sunday.
The Giants, of course, are looking to recover from last Sunday's historic debacle against Philadelphia, blowing a 21-point lead in the final eight minutes. Green Bay suffered an awful 7-3 loss to Detroit two weeks ago, and fell to New England last week, 31-27, when rookie quarterback Matt Flynn seemed to have difficult getting off a final play deep in Patriot territory and ended up being sacked. The Packers will be bolstered by the return of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, cleared to play this week after missing the New England game with a concussion.