Draft & Playoff Watch, Week 7: Your own worst enemy

Brian Bahr

Last week, all it took was one single win to propel the Seahawks into the playoff picture. This week, all it took was one Seahawks loss to not just drop them back out of the playoff race, but make it very difficult for them going forward.

Of course, much of that has to do with the opponents they played in the last two games. That loss to the 49ers on Thursday gives Seattle an 0-3 divisional record, which serves as one of the primary tiebreakers for playoff seeding within the NFC West.

The only other team in the league right now that's lost three divisional games are the Bengals, and even they at least have a win in that category. Because of how our schedule was drawn up this season, the Seahawks are going to have to dwell on that winless division record for another six weeks, which will put us behind just about any team that has the same record as us (unless in the case of a two way tie with an out-of-division team for the wildcard, in which case head-to-head then conference records are tiebreakers). Of course, all three losses were on the road; if the 'Hawks can return the favor on Cards, Niners and Rams in week 14, 16 and 17 respectively, a playoff berth is still a possibility. It's my understanding that Jacson will have an in-depth report on this 0-3 divisional record in the next day or two so stay tuned for that.

Regardless, since the Seahawks currently find themselves on the outside looking in, we'll begin the report the way we've done since the start of the season - with the current draft order.

1. Browns (1-6, .500 SOS)
2. Chiefs (1-5, .455 SOS)
3. Panthers (1-5, .525 SOS)
4. Jaguars (1-5, .547 SOS)
5. Raiders (2-4, .410 SOS)
6. Buccaneers (2-4, .490 SOS)
7. Saints (2-4, .500 SOS)
8. Lions (2-4, .623 SOS)
9. Bengals (3-4, .436 SOS)
10. Bills (3-4, .505 SOS)
11. Titans (3-4, .514 SOS)
12. Rams via Redskins (3-4, .515 SOS)
13. Jets (3-4, .519 SOS)
14. Rams (3-4, .556 SOS)
15. Chargers (3-3, .406 SOS)
16. Steelers (3-3, .443 SOS)
17. Broncos (3-3, .446 SOS)
18. Dolphins (3-3, .468 SOS)
19. Colts (3-3, .481 SOS)
20. Eagles (3-3, .490 SOS)
21. Cowboys (3-3, .519 SOS)
22. Patriots (4-3, .514 SOS)
23. Seahawks (4-3, .537 SOS)
24. Packers (4-3, .571 SOS)
25. Cardinals (4-3, .579 SOS)
26. Ravens (5-2, .452 SOS)
27. Giants (5-2, .485 SOS)
28. Vikings (5-2, .533 SOS)
29. 49ers (5-2, .537 SOS)
30. Bears (5-1, .524 SOS)
31. Texans (6-1, .490 SOS)
32. Falcons (6-0. .394 SOS)

(Strength of Schedule is found by calculating the total win-loss record of all 13 opponents on a team's schedule. Divisional opponents are weighted double since they are played twice. Divisional record serves as the tiebreaker, with a coinflip if necessary.)

The Seahawks seem to be smack dab in the middle of that no-man's land where their record is not good enough to reach the playoffs, but not bad enough to land a high draft pick. The PC/JS braintrust has been getting decent value out of their mid-to-late first round picks thus far, though, so that's not a huge concern as of yet.
Here's a quick look at how the NFC playoff picture currently shakes out:

Divisional Leaders:
Falcons (6-0)
Bears (5-1)
49ers (5-2, 1-0 Div.)
Giants (5-2, 1-2 Div.)

Wild Cards:
Vikings (5-2)
Packers (4-3, 1-0 Div.)

On the Outs:
Cardinals (4-3, Beat SEA, 1-1 Div.)
Seahawks (4-3, Lost to ARI)
Eagles (3-3, 1-0 Div, 2-0 Common)
Cowboys (3-3, 1-0 Div., 1-1 Common)
Rams (3-4, 2-0 Div.)
Redskins (3-4, 0-0 Div.)
Lions (2-4, 2-3 Conf.)
Saints (2-4, 1-3 Conf., Beat TB)
Buccaneers (2-4, Lost to NO)
Panthers (1-5)

I know what you're thinking - "But Tim! Didn't we beat the Packers head-to-head?" We sure did. Sadly, there's a three-way tie for the last wild card spot as of right now, and head-to-head matchups are only taken into account if there are two teams tied with the same record. Plus, since the Seahawks and Cardinals are in the same division, Seattle gets knocked out first because of their head-to-head loss against the Cards, at which point the Packers' lone divisional win gives them the nod over the Cards 1-1 divisional record.

It's starting to reach that point where we're going to have to keep a close eye on the other teams in the league to see if we can leapfrog them. Fortunately, everyone is still relatively bunched up, so a win by the Seahawks coupled with a loss by some other team can put them right back in the wild card spot. Here are the Week 8 matchups of note; the team in bold is the one who would help out the Seahawks' situation by winning.

NE @ STL

TB @ MIN

JAC @ GB

ATL @ PHI

NYG @ DAL

WSH @ PIT

In addition, the 49ers travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals. This one is an interesting matchup, depending on where you think the Seahawks might end up. A win by the Niners allows the Seahawks to regain the wild card with a win and a Packers loss. However, a Cardinals win would prevent Seattle from taking over a playoff spot but give all three teams in question a 5-3 record, making it easier to take the division lead in Week 9.

After a week of pretty miserable football all the way around, we can only hope that this coming week is more successful - or at the very least, more exciting to watch. See you guys next week!

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