Tie doesn't kill Packers' playoff chances

GREEN BAY, Wis. – When you played around with the ESPN Playoff Machine, like I’m sure you did when it made its return last week, I bet you didn’t factor in any ties.

Don’t feel bad. Most in the Green Bay Packers’ locker room weren’t quite sure how to feel after Sunday’s 26-26 tie with the Minnesota Vikings.

“Kind of a weird feeling,” left guard Josh Sitton said. “I don’t know, feels like a loss. It’s tough.”

The feeling probably will be the same when they look at the NFC North standings and realize what a victory would have meant.

Not a single team in the NFC North won on Sunday. The division-leading Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions both lost to fall to 6-5. Although the Packers picked up a half-game with their tie, at 5-5-1 they are still in third place.

“It’s kind of a weird feeling when that overtime ends and you’re walking off and the fans don’t know whether to cheer or boo for you,” linebacker Clay Matthews said. “And you kind of don’t come to grips as far as how you should feel. Is it a victory? Is that a loss?

“I guess we move up half a game, so that’s a positive. But if you really want to get down to it, we didn’t do enough, and that’s kind of been a theme these past couple weeks.”

If nothing else, the Packers are still alive heading into the final five games of the season, which include road games against both the Lions (Thursday) and the Bears (on Dec. 29). The Thanksgiving game at Detroit could prove to be an elimination game.

“We’re aware of what went on in the division today,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We’ve had opportunities that we’ve let go in the past, but it’s in the past. It’s how we apply it to the present, and the good things will rise throughout our preparation to get ready for this week.”