When the smoke finally cleared on Week 14 of the NFL season, Seattle’s playoff scenario — if the season ended today — was the same as it had been entering the weekend.
That means Seattle would be the No. 5 seed and head to Atlanta (which would be the No. 4 seed as the winner of the South despite a 5-8 record) for a game on the first weekend of the playoffs.
Obviously, the season does not end today and lots can still happen, and the Seahawks remain in control of their own destiny in the NFC West. That means, if Seattle wins its last three games — Sunday against the 49ers, Dec. 21 at Arizona and Dec 28 at home against the Rams — then the Seahawks win the NFC West.
Seattle remains as much as a 10-point favorite against the 49ers, a game they will play with the possibility of knowing they can move into first place in the NFC West.
That’s because Arizona plays at St. Louis Thursday night, a game in which the surging Rams are as much as a 4.5-point favorite. If Arizona loses that, then a Seattle win Sunday would make the Seahawks the leader in the NFC West based on having beaten the Cardinals earlier this season. That would also make Seattle at least the No. 2 seed in the NFC thanks to the fact that the win over the Eagles Sunday means the Seahawks now have the head-to-head edge on Philadelphia.
That Seattle has beaten the Eagles but lost to the Cowboys means Seahawks fans should be rooting for Philadelphia to beat Dallas when the two play again on Sunday on Philly. That game figures to basically decide the NFC East champion, since an Eagles win would give Philly a one-game lead on Dallas and sweep of the Cowboys for the season and the tiebreaker.
As for the NFC West title, it looks like it pretty much comes down to the game against Arizona. Even if the two teams are tied going into the game, an Arizona win would then put the Cardinals back on top by a game before they finish at San Francisco.
As for getting home field advantage through the playoffs, the Seahawks need another loss by the Packers — if there is a tie then the edge goes to Seattle thanks to the head-to-head win. Green Bay finishes with games at Buffalo and Tampa Bay and then home to Detroit, so there’s hope.
Here is the NFC.com breakdown of the playoff picture right now.
And here are the NFC standings in order of current playoff seed:
1, Arizona, 10-3 (7-2 conference record)
2, Green Bay, 10-3 (6-3)
3, Philadelphia, 9-4 (5-4)
4, Atlanta, 5-8 (5-5)
5, Seattle, 9-4 (7-2)
6, Detroit, 9-4 (7-2)
Dallas is also 9-4, but at the moment Seattle has the edges on the Lions and Cowboys in a three-team tiebreaker due to a better conference record — the Seahawks and Lions are each 7-2 to the Cowboys’ 6-4. The Seahawks then win a tiebreaker with the Lions based on record in common games (4-0 to 2-2).