Friday I took a look at the NFC playoff picture and went through how the games Sunday would impact the Seattle Seahawks, and the following question was asked in the comments:
“Is it honestly that bad if the [Dallas] cowboys continue to win?”
This is not to put this particular commenter on the spot, as I have seen the same question or sentiment on social media over the past couple of days, such as here.
@bcondotta hey Bob. Should Hawks fans be rooting for the Eagles or Cowboys tomorrow?— Andy Hurst (@andy_hurst) December 8, 2018
Now, of course there are three weeks of football left after the conclusion of the Monday game against the Minnesota Vikings, and the Hawks get to play two of the worst teams in the NFL over those three remaining games so there is certainly some margin for error. In addition, the Seahawks obviously are in control of their own destiny when it comes to making the playoffs, because as long as they continue to win they will maintain their playoff seeding.
But let me simply say that my expectations were formed by the Seahawks of the 1990s, rather than the Seahawks of the 2010s. So, while I believe that this version of the Hawks can indeed take care of business as they need to, I am simply conditioned to prefer that they not be in a position in which they need to take care of business.
Thus, as I could have better explained in my piece on Friday, if the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the Dallas Cowboys there is no scenario in which the Seahawks fall out of a Wild Card spot. However, on the flip side, if the Cowboys defeat the Eagles, the Washington Redskins somehow manage to defeat the Odell Beckham Jr.-less New York Giants and the Hawks somehow manage to lose their primetime home game against the Vikings, then Seattle would drop out of the playoffs for the time being. This would be a result of the fact that Washington would, for the time being, have a better conference record (7-4 for Washington versus 6-4 for the Seahawks).
Thus, while I believe the Seahawks will win their game on Monday night, and while I have confidence that they will finish with a conference record better than Washington, I’d prefer that things be as easy for the Seahawks as possible. In addition, I’d personally prefer to be able to watch the game Monday evening without a playoff spot resting in the balance.
Further, while many Seahawks fans have expressed the sentiment that since Seattle would have to go on the road for the Wild Card round of the playoffs, they would prefer to travel to Dallas. Others, such as myself and as seen in the sentiment expressed in the following tweet, would prefer not to have to travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in the Wild Card round.
Hawks fans should be rooting for Dallas. I feel we have a better shot at going to NFC Central winner in the playoffs than we do going to Dallas. Root for Dallas to get the #3 seed and either MIN or CHI get the #4 seed.— Daniel Reis (@daniel_reis34) December 8, 2018
Now, while the Cowboys postseason record over the past couple of decades is abysmal, and Jerry World is a stadium where the Seahawks are 2-0 in the Russell Wilson era, I’d simply prefer for the team not to have to play there in the postseason. Dallas is 15-8 at home since Dak Prescott became the starting quarterback after Cliff Avril ended Tony Romo’s playing days.
Where I differ from the sentiment in the above tweet is that Seattle fans should definitely be rooting for the Chicago Bears to maintain the division lead in the NFC North. The reason for this is simply that the Bears hold the tiebreaker over the Seahawks. Thus, if Minnesota passes the Bears and knocks Chicago into a Wild Card spot, Seattle would need to finish a full game ahead of Chicago in order to maintain better playoff positioning.
So, in short, there’s still a lot of football left to be played, even with the end of the season quickly approaching. And that makes every last game ever so meaningful, especially those games which could put Seattle into an advantageous position with respect to an all-important tiebreaker. Of course, who wins the Dallas-Philly game becomes irrelevant if Washington can’t handle the Giants in the early game.