On Monday Night Football the Seattle Seahawks hosted the Minnesota Vikings, with the winner of the game set to take over the top Wild Card spot in the NFC playoff race. The two teams entered the contest within a game of each other, but with their 21-7 victory the Seahawks have put a stranglehold on the five seed in the playoff race.
The Hawks currently sit at 8-5, a game and a half up on the 6-6-1 Vikings in the sixth and final playoff spot. Thus, while there are technically multiple teams that could catch up to Seattle, realistically the Hawks have all but assured themselves of a playoff spot. There are three teams that could win out and finish with eight wins, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New York Giants and the Detroit Lions, and a fourth team - the Green Bay Packers - which could max out at 8.5 wins. Thus, a single win down the stretch eliminates the possibility of any of these four catching up to the Seahawks. As the Seattle schedule over the final three games of the season includes two games against two of the three worst teams in the entire NFL, it seems like it shouldn’t be too hard to officially knock these teams out.
Then there are four teams which currently have six wins. These include the Minnesota Vikings, the Carolina Panthers, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins. The Panthers, Eagles and Redskins would finish at 9-7 if they win out, meaning Seattle needs a combination of one win of their own and one loss from each of these three teams over the final three weeks of the season in order to clinch a playoff berth.
Thus, it is possible that Seattle could be able to clinch a playoff berth as early as Week 15. The matchups those three teams face in Week 15 are formidable, and hopefully the Seahawks can take care of business on a short trip down to the Bay Area. If the Hawks defeat the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday, and the following three things happen:
- Washington loses to the Jacksonville Jaguars,
- Philadelphia loses to the Los Angeles Rams and
- Carolina loses to the New Orleans Saints,
the the Hawks would have 9 wins, with only six NFC teams capable of reaching the 9 win threshold. What would put Seattle in the playoffs.
Whether they eventually end up as the five seed or the six seed would obviously still be up in the air, but they would have secured a playoff spot. Obviously, with a lead of a game and a half on the six seed with just three games to go, it would certainly seem most likely that the Hawks end up as the five seed, but it’s not official just quite yet.
Hopefully by this time next week it will be.