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Guess who made some playoff noise (Hint: it’s the Seahawks)

All of a sudden, the division, the bye, they’re both in play

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that helped.

A 27-24 victory over the now-defeated San Francisco 49ers launched the Seattle Seahawks into a race for the NFC West, a first-round bye and maybe (if you’ll allow yourself to believe it) the chase for the Super Bowl. Yeah, that Super Bowl, the one in February, not the one in two weeks with all the buttery garlic mashed potatoes in it. Which is pretty super too. Also, the gravy bowl, that’s a special one as well.

Let us check in with the power rankings, as they stand after the Seahawks prevailed over the league’s lone undefeated team, on unfriendly turf:

Power Rankings Roundup

Outfit Seahawks?
Outfit Seahawks?
NBC Sports 4th 4th
ESPN 4th
Sporting News 4th
Bleacher Report 5th
USA Today 5th
CBS Sports 7th (Prisco)

How much did the Monday night win help the Seahawks? They gained the most in terms of playoff odds — the most of any team last weekend. Plus 20.5 percent overall to make the playoffs. Suddenly they’ve got a one in three chance to win the division, and one in four of earning a first-round bye.

That might strike many observers as a little pessimistic, but maybe the overall playoff odds below will help:

FO playoff odds, expanded

Team Record Playoff odds Last week NEW: bye odds
Team Record Playoff odds Last week NEW: bye odds
SF 8-1 97.7 1st 60
GB 8-2 92.9 3rd 42.7
NO 7-2 91 2nd 45
MIN 7-3 87.6 5th 23.8
SEA 8-2 84 6th 22.9
DAL 5-4 67 4th 2.2
PHI 5-4 44.2 7th 2.2
CAR 5-4 17.6 9th 0.7
LAR 5-4 11.4 8th 0.4
All others 3.7 or less 0.1 or less

Not bad for a team whose only marketable skill appears to be the ability to win close games (/sarcasm off).

The Seahawks’ squeaky-clean margins of victory are why DVOA and weighted DVOA still perceive Seattle as the 9th best team in the league, dinging them also for sub-par defense (22nd) and worse than sub-par special teams (28th). It’s hard to argue. They aren’t great in any phase besides offense. Unless the win in Santa Clara was the awakening of a new, more ferocious defense. And a new, more accurate Jason Myers.

Teams who had bad weeks? Glad you asked. It’s the Cowboys, whose home loss on Sunday night to the Vikings cost them 10 percentage points of playoff probability. And it’s especially the Rams (awwww), who tumbled 23.5 percentage points, and now trail the Vikings by two wins and the Seahawks by three in the wild card standings. There are not a lot of games for Sean McVay and his troops to make up ground.

More Rams news: FO’s simulations place the mean wins for LA at 8.2, ninth in the conference. It’s time to come to the realization that the Rams, who are 2-4 in their last six games and 7-6 in their last 13, aren’t THE RAMS anymore.

Playoff Picture Is No Longer Premature

I’ve felt mildly bad including this for three weeks now because it was so early. It’s no longer early. And finally the matchups have shifted!

Wild-card round

(5) Seattle at (4) Dallas

(6) Minnesota at (3) New Orleans

The rematch of last year’s unforgettable playoff game, and the Bridgewater Bowl (yes I know Drew Brees is back). Anything memorable happen the last time the Saints and Vikings tussled in the playoffs?

Divisional round

Better remaining seed at (2) Green Bay

Worse remaining seed at (1) San Francisco

Those guys meet in Week 12. Probably a lot on the line.

Team Tiers

Legit Contenders

49ers (8-1), Saints (7-2), Packers (8-2), Seahawks (8-2)

Saints lost at home to the Falcons. Any given fuckin’ Sunday. Niners host the Packers, as I mentioned, in Week 12, which will be their third consecutive home game before going on the road in December for dates with the Ravens, Saints and Seahawks. They were never going to go undefeated. I’d frankly be surprised if San Fran did better than 13-3. The smart money’s on 12-4, with a chance they stumble to 11-5 and stagger into the playoffs as the 5 seed. Screenshot it if you want.

Promoted the Seahawks into the top tier because what’s more challenging than going into your undefeated rival’s home on Monday night and winning? Is there a harder game on the schedule? Would there be a harder game in the playoffs?

Need a Break or Two

Vikings (7-3)

Winning in Dallas put some distance between them and the teams below. And they did it without Adam Thielen, for anyone interested in excusing the 49ers loss due to George Kittle’s absence. They host the Packers Week 16. December is gonna be lit all around. Cancel your Christmas shopping.

Next Loss Stings

Dallas Cowboys (5-4), Los Angeles Rams (5-4), Carolina Panthers (5-4), Philadelphia Eagles (5-4)

You have to avoid that fifth loss. It might cost you the division in Dallas’ and Philly’s case. It definitely would sabotage the wild-card candidacies of LA and Carolina. One would truly hate to see that happen at the Seahawks’ hands.

Goose Is Cooked

Chicago Bears (4-5), Detroit Lions (3-5-1)

Sorry guys. There’s always the draft, unless you’re the Bears.

From last week: “All the chief wild-card rivals are on the road. It’s not hard to imagine the Rams faltering, and/or the Vikings losing, and/or the Panthers looking terrible. Should Seattle fall to 7-3, it’ll suck to wave good-bye to the division, but maybe no ground will be lost.”

For all of our goods, the Seahawks do not listen to me, or other naysayers, or other lack-of-faithers. They listen to their hearts, there’s nothing else they can do.

Well, besides win.