The Seattle Seahawks hit the bye week atop the NFC West as one of the few remaining undefeated teams in the NFL, and the only team in the NFC with five wins. When they take the field in Week 6 to face the Arizona Cardinals, they’ll do so as the lone remaining undefeated team in the NFC.
The top seed in the conference is bigger than in seasons past this year, as the top seed is not just for home field advantage. In the past, both the number one and number two seed in each conference received a bye during the Wild Card round of the playoffs, however, with the playoffs expanding to seven team per conference, only the top team in each conference gets a bye. The second through seventh seeds will all play Wild Card weekend, with the three division winners who are not the top seed in the conference hosting a home playoff game.
Thus, that makes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-10 victory over the previously undefeated Green Bay Packers all that much more significant. While there is still a lot of football to be played over the final eleven weeks of the season, having the inside track on that top spot will be important.
It will be even more important as the Hawks prepare to enter the difficult portion of their schedule starting in Week 6. Beginning with the Week 6 trip to Glendale the Hawks will play five consecutive games against teams that currently hold a winning record. Those games are:
- Week 7: at Arizona Cardinals: 3-2 (pending Monday Night Football)
- Week 8: San Francisco 49ers: 3-3
- Week 9: at Buffalo Bills: 4-1
- Week 10: at Los Angeles Rams: 4-2
- Week 11: Arizona Cardinals: 3-2
After that Seattle sees the schedule let up a bit and the matchups are as follows:\
- Week 12: at Philadelphia Eagles: 1-4-1
- Week 13: New York Giants: 1-5
- Week 14: New York Jets: 0-6
- Week 15: Washington Football Team: 1-5
- Week 16: Los Angels Rams: 4-2
- Week 17: at San Francisco 49ers: 3-3
So, the next five games will be crucial, but Seattle has the potential to build a nearly insurmountable lead in the division over the next five weeks. After that it will be a four game stretch against teams that have combined for three wins and a tie through the first six weeks, so the upcoming games will play a huge role in determining whether the Seahawks are in the driver’s seat down the stretch, or whether they’ll need help from other teams after stumbling during the heart of the schedule.