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If not for expanded playoffs, Seahawks would be on outside looking in

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The expansion of the NFL playoffs from six teams to seven teams per conference was not a welcome move for many fans. Not only did the move increase the odds of a low quality team making the playoffs by adding another Wild Card spot, it eliminated the second bye, giving an even greater advantage to the top seed which already held home field advantage through the playoffs.

However, following the Week 10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, and coupling that with the Arizona Cardinals victory over the Buffalo Bills on an amazing Hail Mary, the Hawks have dropped in the standings. Specifically, in spite of a 5-0 start that saw them wake up on October 25 as the top seed in the NFC, Seattle is now just 6-3 and in addition to having slipped in the NFC West standings, has also slipped in the NFC playoff standings. The NFC West standings through Week 10 are as follows:

The Hawks, Rams, and Cardinals are all at a 6-3 logjam at the top of the division, however, having lost to both of them Seattle falls to third place due to the head to head tiebreaker. Then the leader between the Rams and Cardinals is determined by division record, as the two teams have yet to face off, and because the Rams somehow managed to lose to the Niners in Week 6 while the Cards are have yet to lose in the division.

In any case, the Cardinals holding that top spot in the NFC West would put them at the three seed, while Seattle drops all the way to the seventh seed in the NFC playoff picture due to its losses to both L.A. and Arizona.

That all comes together to mean that if not for the expansion of the playoffs by the league this year, the Hawks would be on the outside looking in. Things, of course, are likely to, and almost certainly will change, over the final seven weeks of the season. The Cardinals and Rams will play twice, and they’ll each travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks, so there is plenty of room for movement. Add in that after the Cardinals come to town in Week 11 for the a Thursday Night Football tilt, the next month for the Seahawks will bring a lot softer competition, and there is reason for hope. The next five games look like this:

Following that the team will have a chance to make a direct impact on the standings by playing the final two games of the regular season against the Rams and Niners. At the end of the day, there’s a lot of football left to play, and Seattle can certainly improve its standing in the playoff picture. However, in order to do so it will likely need to defeat the Cardinals and Rams when they play again, and Pete Carroll currently has a losing record against both Kliff Kingsbury (1-2) and Sean McVay (2-5).