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Seahawks Semantics Week 9: Playoff standings, rooting guide and draft projections

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week 9 of Seahawks Semantics.

The Seahawks lost a winnable game on Sunday at the hands of the New Orleans Saints (and probably Ed Hochuli & Co.). Fortunately, very little changed in the NFC standings and the Seattle has a chance to come out of Week 9 with a hold on the number two seed.

Let’s get started.

NFC West Week 8 Roundup:

Cardinals at Panthers

  • Carolina gifted the Seahawks a surprise Sunday afternoon. After Seattle dropped a game to the Saints, the Panthers came through and handed an L to Arizona. Jonathan Stewart totaled 95 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Thomas Davis then sealed up any chance of a Cardinals victory with a 46-yard fumble return for a touchdown. With Arizona on a bye this week, a victory against Buffalo on Monday night will give the Seahawks a much needed 2 game lead over Bruce Arians’ squad.

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

  • Tom Brady’s 315 yard, 4 touchdown performance put him firmly in top consideration for MVP and gave New their third consecutive win. The Patriots offense is playing great football right now and in the coming weeks may get back another weapon in running back Dion Lewis. Trading linebacker Jaime Collins was a surprising move and could backfire on them in January, but for now it seems ludicrous to not consider New England a lock for the AFC Championship.
  • Sunday night’s matchup between Denver and Oakland is going to be a great matchup and one that could shape the playoff race down the road. If the Chiefs roll past Jacksonville, then the loser of this AFC West matchup will shoot down to the last wild card spot. I still hold the belief, however, that all three of Kansas City, Denver and Oakland will clinch the playoffs by the end of New Year’s Day.
  • Tennessee and Buffalo are two games behind the sixth seed, but realistically I don’t see any chance of them or any other team sneaking into the playoffs. Tennessee’s best bet is capitalizing on the Texans’ failures and snagging the AFC South. The only team that’s talented enough to get back into the hunt, Cincinnati, just tied with Washington making their journey to the playoffs harder. As of now, the AFC’s top six teams look solidified.

NFC

  • After the Seahawks blunder against New Orleans, Pete Carroll received some much needed help from the Panthers, Bears, and Falcons. If there were any remaining NFC game that Seattle could’ve gotten away with losing, it’s this Saints game. Thankfully, the Seahawks are virtually in the same spot as last week. They are 1.5 games behind Dallas and just 0.5 game behind Minnesota. It feels like each year in the Pete Carroll era there is a loss that sparks a turnaround in the team. Last year it was the home game against Arizona, in 2014 against the Chiefs and 2012 the game against Miami. I wouldn’t be surprised if this loss is the catalyst for dominating the second half of the season.
  • Dallas has the rest of the NFC in its crosshairs. Seattle has the better team, but their biggest competition is against the ‘Boys in Fort Worth. The Seahawks have no choice but to win each time the Cowboys lose. A few more losses from Seattle would likely keep them out gaining home-field advantage for the playoffs. This Dallas team is fun and exciting, but for the rest of the season I’m rooting against all things Cowboys.
  • The Vikings are in a whirlwind. After rattling off 5 games in a row, they have dropped their last two. And not only did the Monday night loss come against the lowly Bears, but now offensive coordinator Norv Turner has resigned. I can smell self-destruction in the air and I love it. This also plays into the reason Atlanta needed to beat the Packers on Sunday. If Minnesota keeps imploding and loses control of the division to Green Bay, the Seahawks will need as many teams as possible to beat the Packers before they square up against them at Lambeau. In my mind, that scenario will play out and hopefully it means that Seattle will at least have control of the second seed.
  • Unlike the AFC, the NFC’s wild card race is more tantalizing. Three NFC East teams have the same record and there’s an argument for each team to clinch over the others. (On a side note, I actually won’t mind this year when FOX forces me to watch NFC East games). Green Bay is touting a 4-3 record and with a stroke of luck either way they could fall out of the wild card or gain the lead in the NFC North. Detroit’s offense looks good enough to sneak them into the wild card as well. Unless a miracle happens this holiday season, I can’t imagine any team below the Lions sneaking into the playoffs. And hopefully it remains that way over the next several weeks.

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, tiebreakers occur in the following order: conference record, division record and if the teams are from different conferences, a coinflip is used.)

A Guide for the Rooting Man (Or Woman)

Falcons (5-3) at Buccaneers (3-4)

  • A Falcons loss would give Seattle some breathing room in divisional seeding and firmly place Atlanta at the bottom spot. The Buccaneers don’t inspire much faith, but they are at home and Jameis Winston is capable of throwing all over the Falcons’ defense.

Root For: Buccaneers

Lions (4-4) at Vikings (5-2)

  • This is too simple. A Seahawks win and a Vikings loss gives Seattle the #2 seed. However, Minnesota still has a top-5 defense so Jim Bob Cooter and Matthew Stafford will need to be creative to grab the W at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Root For: Lions

Cowboys (6-1) at Browns (0-8)

  • Hmm...Huh...Exhales Breath. If there were to ever be an upset this season, I sure hope it’s this one. I liked Cleveland’s trade for Jaime Collins, maybe that will inspire some force within the Browns to step up and beat Dallas.

Root For: Browns

Eagles (4-3) at Giants (4-3)

  • I would much rather face Eli and the Giants in January than the Eagles. Seattle can control the advantage over Philadelphia, so it would be nice if they had an extra loss or two on their record by Week 11.

Root For: Giants

Panthers (2-5) at Rams (3-4)

  • Most people on this site don’t care for the Panthers. Having to root for them back-to-back weeks is probably a chore. Put into perspective though, a Carolina win would ruin about any hope the former 3-1 Rams had of winning the NFC West. The Seahawks play Carolina at home in Week 13 and Seattle could be the final nail in the coffin for the Panthers’ playoff hopes.

Root For: Panthers

Colts (3-5) at Packers (4-3)

  • AFC over NFC. And if Seattle can head into Lambeau to face a 5 or 6 loss Packers team, a win for the Seahawks would be huge. Andrew Luck can start ignite that vision on Sunday.

Root For: Colts

Remaining Games

Steelers (4-3) at Ravens (3-4)

Jets (3-5) at Dolphins (3-4)

Jaguars (2-5) at Chiefs (5-2)

Saints (3-4) at 49ers (1-6)

Titans (4-4) at Chargers (3-5)

Broncos (6-2) at Raiders (6-2)

I hope to welcome you back next week to talk about the 2nd-seed Seahawks.

Go Hawks!