Every NFC West team won on Sunday, setting up a dramatic final weekend of the NFL regular season for uh... everyone except the Seattle Seahawks.
The Los Angeles Rams rallied to beat the Baltimore Ravens, the Arizona Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over the Dallas Cowboys, the San Francisco 49ers overcame a slow start to best the Houston Texans, and then our Seahawks blew out the Detroit Lions in one of just two games in Week 17 with zero playoff implications.
But just because Seattle has nothing to play for from a postseason perspective doesn’t mean they can’t impact the playoff hunt.
Arizona needs a win and a Rams tie or loss against the 49ers to capture the NFC West crown for the first time since 2015. A Rams win makes Seahawks-Cardinals pointless but if they lose — keep in mind the Rams have lost five in a row to the 49ers — Seattle can deny Arizona the division with an upset victory.
Last time the Seahawks had a genuine spoiler opportunity was Week 16 against the New York Jets in 2008. In a heavy snowstorm (heavier than the one from last week), Seattle won 13-3 in Mike Holmgren’s final home game as head coach and it helped knocked the Jets out of the playoffs. Since then, none of Seattle’s subsequent “nothing to play for” games have involved opposition also either eliminated from the playoffs or locked into their seeding.
Now uh... I’m not sure we’d like a scenario where the Seahawks playing spoiler benefits the Rams, but Pete Carroll probably doesn’t care. He’s going to have the team playing hard until the very end. The shock of all shocks is if he pulls a Doug Pederson and pretty much deliberately throws a game like the Eagles did last year when they inserted Nate Sudfeld in for the most painful series of plays we’ve ever seen on national TV. I don’t need to see Jacob Eason that badly.
If you’re so minded, you’re probably “rooting” for the Rams to win the NFC West anyway as a 49ers loss would actually put San Francisco out of the playoffs if the Saints also beat the Falcons.