Sunday’s loss by the Seattle Seahawks to the Arizona Cardinals was functionally meaningless in terms of the NFC West race, but it sure as hell meant a lot in terms of NFC seeding. Instead of being in prime position to get a first-round bye, if not the #1 seed outright, they’re on the outside looking in in terms of that pivotal extra week off.
Results just simply didn’t go Seattle’s way in Week 16. The New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers both won, which puts them both a game ahead of the Seahawks as we approach the regular season finale.
The bad news is that Seattle cannot get a first-round bye unless at least one of the Packers or Saints lose in Week 17. Somehow, I doubt that the Packers will stumble against the David Blough-led Detroit Lions, ditto the Saints against the Wil Grier-led Carolina Panthers. Crazier things have happened, so I suppose you are allowed to dream.
If the Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, they’ll most likely be the #3 seed, in which case they’ll have a rematch against the Minnesota Vikings, whose loss on Monday assures them that they are locked into the #6 spot. To get the #2 seed, Seattle will need a win plus a Packers loss, and for the almighty #1 seed they need both the Saints and Packers to lose.
Should the Seahawks not win the NFC West and the 49ers get to celebrate a division title and the #1 seed at CenturyLink Field, then Seattle will be the #5 seed. They would be playing on the road against either the current NFC East leading Philadelphia Eagles or the Dallas Cowboys, should the Eagles blow it on the final day.
Also of importance with the #3 seed is that if the Seahawks do wind up there and win on wild card weekend, the #2 seeded Saints would be their divisional round opponent by default.
There’s a nifty chart explaining the playoff scenarios for everyone this weekend.
Complete NFC and AFC playoff scenarios going into week 17 (cleaner version). @SheilKapadia @Bo_Wulf @ZBerm @BleedingGreen @benbbaldwin @JoeGiglioSports @SportsRadioWIP @JimmyKempski pic.twitter.com/dNaIG2W9gK— Deniz Selman (@denizselman33) December 24, 2019
So root for the increased probability of a first-round bye (Go Lions! Go Panthers!) and if all else fails, let’s still win the damn NFC West.