Week Nine gives Packers an edge in the NFC

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Whether it was scotch or tequila or a little (or a lot) of both, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers surely enjoyed watching football on Sunday.

After re-establishing their footing with a Thursday night win in Santa Clara, the Packers were able to witness three games that went their way in the NFC.

First, and most obviously, the Bears have continued their slide, taking them from a 5-1 contender to win the NFC North to a 5-4 team that could be destined for third place in the division. This makes the Packers the clear-cut favorite in the division.

But with only one bye available this year (unless the playoffs expand to 16 teams), the Packers are aiming higher than the third seed. (The NFC East champion undoubtedly will finish at No. 4.) And Green Bay got a boost in that regard with the Seahawks losing to the Bills and the Buccaneers losing to the Saints.

The Packers prefer a head-to-head tie with the Saints, because Green Bay beat New Orleans. The Packers lost to the Bucs, which would give Tampa the obvious edge in a head-to-head tie.

Given the remaining schedules, the Packers arguably are the favorite to win the top seed. The remaining schedule points to 12-4, with the biggest challenges coming in 13 days at Indianapolis (depending on which Colts team shows up) and Week 16 against the Titans. The Seahawks have the Rams twice, Cardinals, and 49ers again; however, Seattle’s remaining schedule also includes Washington, the Eagles, the Jets, and the Giants.

Still, the arrow for now seems to point toward Green Bay as having the advantage over Seattle. As to the Saints, the final eight consist of games against the 49ers, the Falcons (twice), the Broncos, the Eagles, the Chiefs, the Vikings, and the Panthers.

It currently seems that one of those three teams — Packers, Seahawks, Saints — will get the top seed in the NFC. And Sunday’s game made the Packers’ case for the No. 1 spot more viable than it had been.