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Seahawks get one of the tough wins they needed to keep pace in NFC playoff races

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks went into the bye week at 3-3, which I think was a reasonable record given four road games to open the season. The post-bye five-game stretch looks even more difficult, however, and many people felt that the Seahawks would need to win at least three of those games in order to stay ahead in any postseason wild card races as they enter a December with four home games.

One of those difficult-to-win games looked to be the 10 AM road start against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, and Seattle made it look easy, beating the Lions 28-14 to improve to 4-3. If you marked this road game as an L, it’s time to re-mark it and re-think the Seahawks fortunes as they head back home for a game against the LA Chargers.

Seattle’s next four: vs Chargers, at LA Rams, vs Green Bay Packers (Thursday Night), at Carolina Panthers.

If the Seahawks win their home games during that stretch, they’ll go into December at 6-5. If they win their home games and pull a road upset, make it 7-4. The task after that: vs San Francisco 49ers, vs Minnesota Vikings (MNF), at 49ers, vs Kansas City Chiefs (possibly already locked up the number one seed in the AFC), vs Arizona Cardinals.

The 49ers and Cardinals are both 1-6 as they prepare to face off against one another in Week 8’s afternoon slate.

As far as the standings go at the moment, the Seahawks remain on the outside-looking-in as the Panthers improved to 5-2 with an easy win over the Baltimore Ravens. That’s concerning for two reasons: It gives Carolina a one-game advantage over Seattle, four weeks before they host them, and it means that the Panthers are likely a pretty good team given that the Ravens are thought to be a pretty good team. However, the Packers play the Rams in the Week 8 afternoon schedule and a loss would drop them to 3-3-1, moving them behind the Seahawks if that were the case.

The Lions dropped to 3-4 based on their loss to Seattle, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 3-4 following a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals; the Bucs benched starting quarterback Jameis Winston, further emphasizing their internal problems as they’ve lost four of their last five. The Chicago Bears improved to 4-3 though and while the Seahawks had an advantage over the Bears last week (multiple teams were 3-3, overriding some tiebreak scenarios), head-to-head, Chicago will have the advantage since they beat Seattle in Week 2.

All the Seahawks can worry about though is how they do and this week they did quite well. Better than most expected.