This question may have had more bite last week before the Packers and Seahawks lost and the Redskins won, but I will ask it now anyway: Would it be better for the Packers to be the 5th Seed and travel to Washington to play the (improving) Redskins, and of course stay burdened with the #5, or would it be better to be the #3 and host the Seahawks ? I think Seattle is a better team, and would continue to think so even if Arizona beats Seattle and Wash beats Dal. in week 17. The Packers will know the result of Seattle vs. Arizona before their game.
As a Redskins fan, I really hope they don’t play the Seahawks as they’ve ended the Redskins’ playoffs the last few times, including in Washington in 2012. So, speaking selfishly, I hope Green Bay plays them and I think the Redskins have the best shot against Minnesota.
That said, I still think that, in general, a higher seed is almost always better, especially the 3. I also think that the homefield advantage in Green Bay, particularly in the playoffs, is not something that should be underestimated, though the recent weather could reduce that advantage to some degree. As unbiased as I can be, I think it’s more or less a wash in that while Seattle is probably a better team that Washington is, the advantage of playing at home probably wipes that out, at which chance just being a higher seed in and of itself is better because you get to play the lower seed in the Divisional round and have a shot at a home game for the NFC championship if the other lower seed wins as well.
Even as a lifelong Skins fan, I can tell you they are a gift for whoever gets the #5 seed. They squeaked out most of their wins, blew out some really awful teams, and with the exception of the Atlanta game, got crushed by the few teams they played with winning records.
If it turns out Kirk Cousins is the second coming of Tom Brady that could change things, but even so, Washington’s secondary is suspect at best and they don’t have much of a pass rush. They can’t bring the wood like Arizona or Seattle can. If whoever plays them can contain Jordan Reed and bump DJax off his routes, there’s really nothing else in the cupboard; they have no run game at all.