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Seahawks Seamantics Week 7: Playoff picture, draft projections, and rooting guide

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NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the first edition of Seahawks Seamantics! Which is basically a combination of standings, playoff races, and a rooting guide for Seattle Seahawks fans!

The Seahawks are 4-1 after beating the NFL’s highest rated offense. They are set to face the Cardinals on Sunday Night Football in a game that could set them up to run away with the division. I also get to go to the Dixie Stampede this weekend.

Let’s get started.

NFC West Week 6 Roundup

Rams at Lions

  • The Rams dropped to 3-3 despite surprising performances from Case Keenum and Kenny Britt. Los Angeles’ defense was the deterring factor for the Rams this past week, allowing Matt Stafford to throw for 4 touchdowns. After being lit up by one pass-heavy offense, Jeff Fisher’s defense will travel to London to face Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., and the Giants potent arial attack.

49ers at Bills

  • 49ers are now at 1-5 through six weeks with their sights set on the 2017 NFL Draft. Buffalo dominated San Francisco on offense, led by LeSean McCoy’s 140-yard, 3 touchdown performance. Buffalo’s win put them in the top wild card spot in the AFC. San Francisco’s scouting department is probably in full force as they wait to see where they’ll be selecting in April. The 49ers go back to Santa Clara to take on the underwhelming Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon.

Jets at Cardinals

  • Unfortunately, the Cardinals stomped the Jets on Monday Night Football and have climbed back to .500 on the year. Arizona is still on the outside of the conference standings despite the victory. This is the second consecutive week that David Johnson has put up pro bowl numbers, totaling 268 yards and 5 touchdowns in that span. The Seahawks will go into Glendale hoping to stop the Cardinals emerging ground game and put a halt to Arizona’s momentum.

Playoff Projections

(Division tiebreakers are handled first, and go in the following order: head-to-head, division record, common opponents, conference record, strength of victory, strength of schedule. After that, conference ties are handled in this order: head-to-head, conference record, common opponents, strength of victory, strength of schedule. Ties are counted as half a win for percentage purposes.)

AFC

  • Bill Belicheck and the New England Patriots have been the best team in the AFC and arguably the best team in the league through 6 weeks. Besides their Week 4 slip-up to the Bills, the Patriots have played as great as a team could. The reinstatement of Tom Brady from suspension has led to 33-13 and 35-17 victories over the Browns and Bengals. Brady’s performances in these two games indicate that New England is ready for another deep run in January.
  • The rest of the AFC looks like a crap-shoot. Seeds 2-6 are all up for the taking as we head into the midway point of the season. Pittsburgh appeared to be the clear pick for the 2nd seed, but Ben Roethlisberger’s meniscus injury leaves the door open for another team to take Pittsburgh’s spot.
  • The AFC West is now a three-team race after Kansas City’s win over Oakland on Sunday. Oakland and Denver are both 4-2 (with Denver having yet to play either Oakland or KC) and the Chiefs are right behind them with a 3-2 record. The remaining divisional games will shape the division and could very well impact the wild card race. The team with the best divisional record will most likely finish atop the division at the end of the year. But don’t be surprised if the other two teams are still around during Wild Card Weekend.
  • Buffalo has been the surprise team of the last 4 weeks. They started the year 0-2 but have rebounded in great fashion taking down teams such as the Cardinals and Patriots. The winning streak comes on the heels of Greg Roman’s firing as the offensive coordinator and interim coordinator Anthony Lynn has the offense, specifically LeSean McCoy, rolling.
  • The Texans are the worst divisional leader in the NFL. The AFC South is the worst division in the NFL. I don’t think there is much more to say.

NFC

  • Seattle came away with a clutch win against Atlanta at Century Link. Although the narrative this week has been the no-call pass interference on Julio Jones, the Seahawks defensive performance was the real takeaway from the game. Kenneth and Rob Staton did a great job on this week’s 3000 NFL Mock Draft discussing the Seahawks performance against the league’s 1st rated offense. A win on Sunday Night Football would give Seattle a much needed 2.5 game lead over Arizona, a tie for the 2nd seed with Dallas, along with the potential to be tied for 1st in the conference (pending a Vikings loss). The Seahawks have outscored the Cardinals 71-12 in their last two trips to Glendale. Here’s hoping for another dominant Seahawks win.
  • Sam Bradford remains the only unbeaten quarterback in the NFL. I wonder how many people guessed that at the beginning of the season? The Vikings dominant defense has catapulted the team atop several power rankings and to the top of the NFC. As of now, one loss from Minnesota is all that keeps Seattle from a tie for first in the conference. I doubt Bradford’s ability to not throw away at least a few games this season, so when those opportunities arise, the Seahawks need to capitalize.
  • Dak Prescott has been the surprise story of the NFL season. The 4th-round pick out of Mississippi State has led the Cowboys to the second best record in the NFL. Paired with star rookie and current rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott, the ‘Boys appear to have recaptured their magic from the 2014 season. Their 30-16 rout of the Packers last week has put them on the map as a legitimate contender for home-field advantage in the NFC. It’ll be intriguing to see if they can sustain this early season success and what they do when Romo returns.
  • The 5th and 6th seeds are most likely going to be a 4-team race between Washington, Green Bay, Philadelphia and Arizona. Each team has already faced some sort of struggle this year. The wild card spots are going to be a battle of attrition and as per usual, the healthiest teams will be the ones in the postseason.

Draft Status

(Strength of schedule is found by calculating the win percentage of all 13 opponents on a team's schedule. Divisional opponents get double weight. In the event of a tie for strength of schedule, ties are broken in the same manner as they would be for conference or divisional seeding. If the teams are from different conferences, a coinflip is used.)

Keep in mind that this is SOS through the first 6 weeks. Each teams SOS will be subject to change as each teams goes through their Bye Week and as the season progresses. The SOS will begin to stabilize around the closing weeks of the season.

A Guide for the Rooting Man (Or Woman)

The Seahawks are so close to home-field advantage in the NFC. Not only would being in position for an advantage in the playoffs be gratifying, but so would other teams making that path easier to attain. Here’s this weeks crop of teams to be secondary fans for.

Bears (1-5) at Packers (3-2)

  • The Packers offense sputtered last week against Dallas and now they’ll be without starting running back Eddie Lacy for a few weeks due to an ankle injury. Hopefully this will contribute to consecutive weeks of ineptitude from Rodgers, McCarthy, & Co. Chicago went into Lambeau on Thursday night last year and came away with a 17-13 win. A loss for Green Bay would knock them out of the last wild card spot...

Root For: Bears

Giants (3-3) at Rams (3-3) (London)

  • Pete Carroll has preached since his arrival to Seattle that their first goal is to win the division. A third straight loss for Los Angeles could give Seattle a 2.5 game leave after Sunday. Odell Beckham seems to have regained his form after his 222 yard performance against Baltimore. The G-Men will need him to make plays against a talented Rams defense.

Root For: Giants

Vikings (5-0) at Eagles (3-2)

  • Minnesota currently holds home field advantage in the NFC. A Vikings loss and a Seahawks win would leave the teams tied for the #1 seed in the conference. If the Eagles can regain their play from the first month of the season, it will be challenging for Minnesota to move the ball offensively in Philly. Plus, watching another great Carson Wentz performance will make us even happier that LA didn’t take him 1st overall.

Root For: Eagles

Redskins (4-2) at Lions (3-3)

  • At this point in the season you want as many teams in the middle of the pack as possible. If Detroit wins at home and Seattle loses, the Seahawks would still be ahead of both teams in the conference. The Lions passing game, specifically Golden Tate, has picked up in the past few weeks which leads to an interesting matchup between Josh Norman and the rest of Washington’s secondary.

Root For: Lions

Chargers (2-4) at Falcons (4-2)

  • Philip Rivers has put his team in a position to win every game this season. The injuries on defense for San Diego will cause them difficulty to stop Atlanta’s offense on Sunday. Hopefully Rivers can work some magic and give Seattle a huge advantage over the Falcons as the halfway point of the season approaches.

Root For: Chargers

Remaining Games

Saints (2-4) at Chiefs (3-2)

Colts (2-4) at Titans (3-3)

Bills (4-2) at Dolphins (2-4)

Browns (0-6) at Bengals (2-4)

Ravens (3-3) at Jets (1-5)

Raiders (4-2) at Jaguars (2-3)

Patriots (5-1) at Steelers (4-2)

Texans (4-2) at Broncos (4-2)

Since I want this to be a natural progression from “The Watch,” I am thinking of new ideas to introduce in the series. If you have any suggestions or things you’d like me to include please share your thoughts in the comments.

GO HAWKS!