Get this: the two biggest Seattle-centric games besides Seahawks-Rams will be watchable without conflict. They’re opposite no other games, on Christmas Day and Sunday, in their own time slots, ready for consumption when you’re not feeling your heart in your throat.
As always, games are ranked by FaIR Factor, a combination of feasibility, worthwhile investment of your time, and importance of result obtained.
TEN @ GB, Sunday 5:20 p.m. Root for: Titans
In addition to the reflex of rooting against the Packers no matter what, the enjoyment of watching Derrick Henry do Derrick Henry things and open the door ever so slightly for the Seahawks to usurp the 1 seed is a holiday gift to all humans. Catch this game even if you have to take a three-and-a-half-hour bathroom break in between Christmas dinner courses.
You can even watch it if the Seattle footballers, uh, forget to uphold their end of the bargain earlier in the day. (This is the official reminder to devoted Field Gulls reader Pete Carroll that we also have a strong rooting interest in the Seahawks, mostly in favor.)
FaIR Factor: 8 for Feasibility and Investment. 9 for Result. 17/20
MIN @ NO, Friday 1:30 p.m. Root for: Vikings
Since Minnesota can’t pass Seattle anymore, it’s time for them to help the Saints plummet down, down, down the NFC playoff standings. New Orleans could be looking at the 3 seed by the time the weekend ends. That’s preferable over them locking up the 2 seed, which could also happen, though we do not speak of the circumstances that would lead us there.
The Vikings have won in the Superdome before, with generally the same cast of characters, if you sub Justin Jefferson in for Stefon Diggs, against a Saints offense far more prolific at the time.
And if the last couple weeks have taught us anything, it’s that no win should ever, ever, be taken for granted, isn’t that right Coach McVay?
FaIR Factor: 5 for Feasibility and Investment. 9 for Result. 14/20
TB @ DET, Saturday 10 a.m. Root for: Lions
Putting Seahawks fans in position to have to root for Detroit every week is Darrell Bevell’s revenge on his last employer and their scurrilous fanbase.
You (we) want to finish ahead of the 9-5 Bucs for the fifth seed in case of a
probable likely expectable normal potential loss to LA. It’s that simple. The only good wild-card spot is the top one, where the NFC East winner awaits rather than the Pack, Saints or Rams.
FaIR Factor: 7 for Feasibility and Investment. 7 for Result. 14/20
SF @ ARI, Saturday 1:30 p.m. Root for: 49ers out of necessity only
Both to wreck the Niners’ draft position and ensure the Cardinals can’t pass the Seahawks. Simple. You don’t have to like it, but the logic is as undeniable as a failed dam on the African continent’s longest river.
FaIR Factor: 6 for Feasibility and Investment. 5 for Result. 11/20
CHI @ JAX, Sunday 10 a.m. Root for: Bears
Chicago hosts Green Bay in Week 17. Pretending for a moment that momentum matters, let’s get da Bears rolling! Also honestly wouldn’t mind a Seattle-Chicago first round of the playoffs in the event the Seahawks secure the 2 seed. Of course, the rolling would need to stop right about then.
FaIR Factor: 8 for Feasibility and Investment. 3 for Result. 11/20
NYG @ BAL, Sunday 10 a.m. Root for: Ravens
At this point, it might not matter too much who wins the NFC East. But given how the Giants defense stymied the Seahawks just two games ago, if we don’t have to see them again, it’s for the better probably. Though what we thought was true midseason has held: all those East teams are pretty interchangeable, due to their lack of serious quarterbacking.
FaIR Factor: 6 for Feasibility and Investment. 2 for Result. 8/20
CAR @ WFT, Sunday 1:05 p.m. Root for: Panthers
It raises the chaos level in the NFC East and potentially sets up a situation where three division members are actively in the hunt to win it Week 17. I can’t remember the last time that happened in any division.
Say: WFT loses, while the Eagles win and the Giants stumble. Then your standings are scrumptious!
With the Eagles at Washington and the Cowboys in New York, the top three are all alive. As is the possibility of a 6-9-1 division champ. Nice? Nice.
FaIR Factor: 4 for Feasibility and Investment. 3 for Result. 7/20
PHI @ DAL, Sunday 1:05 p.m. Root for: Eagles
Either team can still win the division as of right now, but to get the scenario described above, it’s Philly time. Sorry Cowboys. You want the higher draft pick anyway.
FaIR Factor: 5 for Feasibility and Investment. 2 for Result. 7/20
ATL @ KC, Sunday 10 a.m. Root for: Falcons because my fantasy football season is over
With the Steelers’ plunge (so sad!), and the Bills two games back of the Chiefs, there’s a chance KC could clinch the AFC’s top seed before this game ends. The league is better when nobody gets a free pass. That’s the best I can do for a game that promises nothing and probably will deliver nothing.
FaIR Factor: 1 for Feasibility and Investment. 1 for Result. 2/20
Final clunker aside, the NFC is set up for a wild finish that might even be complicated by COVID-19 considerations. The field of seven playoff teams could be expanded to eight “if meaningful games are canceled” and not all playoff-competing teams are able to reach 16 games played. But of course by then, we’ll be clear into the year 2021, when magically, with a flip of the calendar’s page, the world reverts to normal and all our present weirdness climbs back into its dark hole for a generation.
Which doesn’t mean another Seahawks divisional round loss. Get out of here with that talk!