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There is nothing more important to the Seahawks’ Super Bowl hopes at this point than clinching a bye week

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Currently slated as the two-seed, if the Seattle Seahawks tumble to the three or four seed in the NFC, there is certainly still a chance that they will make the Super Bowl. All 12 teams in the playoffs “certainly have a chance” though. If you’re an NFL team, you don’t want to have a chance, you want to have the odds in your favor. And don’t tell me to never tell you the odds, I don’t care if you have Rogue One fever or not.

We aren’t about the Seahawks making the playoffs, we’re about them making the Super Bowl, so if that’s going to happen they should probably hold onto that two-seed. Here’s why and how:

The how is simple. If Seattle wins their next two games (home against Arizona, on the road at San Francisco) then they’ll be the two seed and get a bye week and in the playoffs before hosting the highest-seeded wild card round winner. This could be anyone from an 11-5 Atlanta Falcons team to a 10-6 Green Bay Packers team to a 12-4 New York Giants team. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions would also be in contention of some sort. But the Seahawks don’t have to win their next two games to guarantee it (though they’ll be heavily favored in both), it’s just the outcome that is most within their own control.

Seattle can clinch as soon as this weekend if they beat the Cardinals and the Falcons lose on the road to the Carolina Panthers (plenty possible) and the Lions lose on the road to the Dallas Cowboys (downright probable). With that outcome, the Seahawks could rest their starters in Week 17 against the 49ers, giving Russell Wilson, Thomas Rawls, Jimmy Graham, CJ Prosise, and anyone else they deem necessary two weeks to stay healthy or get healthy before their next game.

What if things don’t go their way this weekend?

Let’s say that Arizona upsets Seattle and Atlanta takes care of business against the Panthers. In that scenario, the Seahawks would have to win in Week 17 (they almost certainly will) but also hope the Falcons lose to the New Orleans Saints. Then Atlanta would be 10-6, Seattle would be 10-5-1, and as long as Detroit isn’t 11-5, the Seahawks would sneak back into the two. And that’s really, really important.

Even as a three-seed, Seattle would have to play in “Week 18” meaning that Prosise might not be back. It gives players like Michael Bennett less time to rest, if they’re even available at all. And then perhaps they win their rematch against the Bucs, but even then, they may find themselves on the road in Lambeau or Atlanta; best case scenario is Detroit or Tampa Bay, and the Seahawks are 2-4-1 on the road this season, and 0-4-1 on the road in the NFC. Under Pete Carroll in the postseason, they are 5-0 at home, 2-2 on the road, and 1-1 on a neutral field.

Seattle lost in Lambeau, they lost in Tampa Bay, they have lost in the divisional round in Atlanta, and the last time they played in Detroit, they lost.

Flip that entire script to a bye week, a home game in the divisional round, and suddenly the Seahawks seem very likely to be playing in the NFC Championship game for the third time in the last four seasons. That game could be in Dallas, but it could also very well be in Seattle, hosting a team like the Giants. That changes the likelihood of the Seahawks returning to the Super Bowl by a percentage you wouldn’t believe — even if you told me not to tell you the odds.

Just get the two wins you’re supposed to get Seattle, and it’s all yours for the taking. Maybe with a little extra luck, the Seahawks can skip Week 17 too.

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Posted by Field Gulls: For Seattle Seahawks News and Analysis on Tuesday, December 20, 2016