What Seattle needs to do over these next couple of games to clinch a playoff spot and why it shouldn't be that difficult.
When Seattle gets a win like the one they got yesterday, I'm compelled to do a recap video where I just dance to "This Is How We Do It" while shouting out some statistics. "Well it's Sunday night and the feeling's right. Russell had 293 yards on the Midwestside!" But noooo, copyright infringement blah blah blah. Because Montell Jordan is really worried about a few thousand people on a Seahawks video channel listening to his masterpiece. (Not sarcastic!)
There is a bunch to get to this week and so I'm kicking off my week by running through my thoughts on what it's going to take to get to the playoffs. In short: Not nearly as much as you would have expected after the loss to Miami. It's amazing what pulling an upset will do for your morale and your playoff odds. In fact, it's amazing what two upsets will do for your odds of winning the division.
The official playoff odds of sites like Football Outsiders won't be up until tonight's game between the Redskins-Giants is complete (and for good reason since it's quite pertinent to our interests) but I'm just going off of a rough estimate. Kind of like if I ask a girl for her phone number, she just gives me a rough estimate. "Umm... its between 555-2424 and 557-9103."
Looking at the standings and remaining schedule, it's not hard to see Seattle in the playoffs. The win over the Bears was far more crucial than a loss to the AFC Miami Dolphins and Seattle's 3-1 record against the NFC North, a team almost certain to send a team to the playoffs in a Wild Card spot, makes a world of difference. Here is what I'm seeing (The more detailed playoff and draft post by Tim will come out later):
- Seattle finally sits in sole place in the Wild Card #2 spot. No tie-breakers, no coin-flips, no billybonkers (as they'd say Down Under), just the second-best record for a team not in a division lead. The Seahawks are 7-5, while the Cowboys, Vikings, and Buccaneers are 6-6. It's quite awesome that Seattle has actually beaten two of those teams, meaning that they actually have a two-game lead over the Cowboys and Vikings.
The Bucs are 3-1 against the AFC and 3-5 in conference. Seattle is now 5-4 in conference play, so a loss on the road to the Bills wouldn't be as detrimental in holding off the Bucs. They're already two wins up on Tampa in that tie-breaker, which sounds almost as good as a head-to-head victory.
- Once again, the Hawks remaining schedule is: Cardinals, @ Bills (Toronto), 49ers, Rams. If Seattle wins their next two games and gets to 9-5, it would nearly seal the deal and leave perhaps only a few less-than-probable scenarios for the Seahawks to not be close to clinching the Wild Card spot. That means we have to beat the Cardinals, losers of eight straight and the first team to decide not to have a quarterback in NFL history, and the 5-7 Bills in Canada. It might be a less-than-neutral field, but the Bills are 1-3 in Toronto and just not a very good team.
- If the Seahawks do win their next two, it would setup a playoff-clinching-for-sure home game against the 49ers. The Rams are now in the mix at 5-6-1 and 4-0-1 in the division (!) but the best that they can do is 9 wins. If Seattle wins their next three and gets to 10-5, they will have clinched a playoff spot.
Other Remaining Schedules:
Rams (5-6-1): @ Bills, Vikings, @ Buccaneers, @ Seahawks
Saints (5-7): @ Giants, Buccaneers, @ Cowboys, Panthers (Would need a sweep and other luck)
Redskins (5-6): Giants, Ravens, @ Browns, @ Eagles, Cowboys
Giants (7-4): @ Redskins, Saints, @ Falcons, @ Ravens, Eagles
Forget about the Wild Card?
With the 49ers not-tying with the Rams yesterday, aka "losing", it opens back up the door for the NFC West title. Since Seattle still plays San Francisco, it means that if the Hawks win that game they would need to do just one game better than the 49ers over the other 3 games. 49ers remaining schedule is: Dolphins, @ Patriots, @ Seahawks, Cardinals.
Sometimes it seems like in Week 17 strange shit happens, but also the 49ers have to win in New England. It's no longer improbable.
Seriously, the Rams?
I know, I know. But St. Louis technically could win out and have the advantage of a tie since they'd be 9-6-1 and not 9-7. Plus if they win out it means that they've swept the season series with the Hawks. I'm not saying it's going to happen but we have to consider the possibility. They just beat San Francisco without Danny Amendola.
Still, Seattle has four games remaining with three at home plus a game in Canada, which is basically Narnia, and I think the team is in for some Turkish Delight's. Of course there is the concern about not having Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman (possibly) but this first game is against one of the two or so worst teams in the NFL (as long as Kevin Kolb doesn't come back which would be just so Kevin Kolb of him) and a Bills team that is very-not-good. If you win those two games, there's very few ways the Seattle does not make the playoffs.
I'm hoping and wishing and praying and wanting the corners to get suspended immediately if that's what is going to happen but I'm not sure that's going to be the case. Which sucks because you don't need corners against Ryan Lindley, you'd probably get by with smooth, round edges.
I know that the Seahawks are more than good enough to win these next two games, let's show them that this is how we do it.