By Michael Simeona
With only three games left in the regular season, are the Seahawks really in the playoff hunt?
Yes, Jim Mora, we're talking about playoffs, and the Seahawks do have a legitimate shot at reaching the postseason for the second season in a row. Although every scenario stipulates that the Seahawks must win their final three games - at Chicago, vs. San Francisco, at Arizona - in order for them to reach the postseason.
So, how can the Hawks make the playoffs?
First off, hosting another playoff game at CenturyLink Field is out of the question considering the 49ers have already clinched the NFC West title and a home playoff game. For the Seahawks to make the postseason they have to clinch a wildcard berth, which means they'll be playing on the road during wildcard weekend.
Here are the current NFC playoff standings as of Friday :
1. Green Bay: 13-0 (clinched NFC North and first round bye)
2. San Francisco: 10-3 (clinched NFC West)
3. New Orleans: 10-3 (clinched playoff berth)
4. N.Y. Giants: 7-6 (vs. WAS, at NYJ, vs. DAL)
5. Atlanta: 9-5 (at NO, vs. TB)
6. Detroit: 8-5 (at OAK, vs. SD, at GB)
Here are the teams currently in the playoff hunt :
7. Chicago: 7-6 (vs. SEA, at GB, at MIN)
8. Dallas: 7-6 (at TB, vs. PHI, at NYG)
9. Seattle: 6-7 (at CHI, vs. SF, at ARI)
10. Arizona: 6-7 (vs. CLE, at CIN, vs. SEA)
11. Philadelphia: 5-8 (vs. NYJ, at DAL, vs. WAS)
A win over the Bears this Sunday will put the Seahawks above Chicago in the standings considering they would have the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Hawks also have a tiebreaker over the Giants, after defeating them in October. While the Seahawks don't own the tiebreaker over the Falcons due to their Week 4 loss, the Hawks could, in theory, make the playoffs over them (we'll get to that in a bit).
So, here are the only scenarios that will get the Seahawks into the playoffs for the second straight season (H/T to Dave Krieg's Strike Beard):
The Best Scenario:
If the Seahawks and Lions both finish 9-7 (i.e. Seahawks wins out, and Detroit loses EXACTLY 2 games), the Seahawks will make the playoffs no matter what the Giants or Cowboys do.
3 SEA wins + 1 DET loss + 2 ATL losses + DAL wins NFC East + NYG loses EXACTLY twice
Detroit would be the 5-seed at 10-6, SEA/ATL/NYG would all be 9-7, and the Seahawks will make the playoffs as the 6-seed based off a better conference record.
3 SEA wins + 3 DET losses + DAL wins NFC East
Atlanta would be the 5-seed at 9-7, and the Seahawks would be the 6-seed at 9-7.
3 SEA wins + 3 DET losses + Dal loses at least 2 games
Atlanta would be the 5-seed at 9-7, and Seattle would be the 6-seed at 9-7.
3 SEA wins + 3 DET losses + PHI wins NFC East
Seattle would be the 5-seed at 9-7, and Detroit would be the 6-seed at 8-8.
If you didn't get all that, just hope the Seahawks win out. Then, we can actually start getting excited about the playoffs?! Or as Herm Edwards likes to say...