The Seattle Seahawks find themselves perhaps a win away from making the playoffs with an above .500 record, and yet there’s a chance that one loss could give them the 10th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Crazy, isn’t it? But that’s been the 2022 NFL season for you.
As things stand, the Seahawks occupy the 7th seed in the NFC, but if the Green Bay Packers win on Sunday night against the Detroit Lions, then it doesn’t matter whether or not Seattle beats the Los Angeles Rams because they will be out of the playoffs on a tiebreaker. If the Seahawks lose, they’re definitely out.
Because there are so many 7- and 8-win teams across the league this season, the Seahawks’ native 2023 first-round pick really could go anywhere from 10-18 if certain results break their way. If getting into the playoffs has a simple scenario, getting the 10th overall pick is absolutely chaotic.
Here’s the situation, via Tankathon:
The top tiebreaker in the NFL Draft order is strength of schedule, with worse SOS moving teams up (see: Denver Broncos). You might notice that the Seahawks’ SOS is pretty awful. It’s been both beneficial for their unexpected playoff push and now potentially for settling any tiebreakers with other 8-9 teams.
Let’s go crazy!
The Seahawks land the 10th overall pick if...
Seahawks lose to Rams - Seahawks fall to 8-9
Saints defeat Panthers - Improves Saints to 8-9
Titans defeat Jaguars - Improves Titans to 8-9
Bills defeat Patriots - Patriots fall to 8-9 (explanation coming later)
Jets defeat Dolphins - Jets at 8-9 (Dolphins’ first-rounder is forfeited, so they don’t factor)
Commanders defeat Cowboys - Improves Commanders to 8-8-1
Packers vs. Lions result does not matter
Now why would the Patriots losing be a potential good thing? Well that’s because losses by the Patriots, Steelers, and Dolphins would actually give the Jaguars a wild card berth even if they lose to the Titans. Jacksonville wins a four-way tiebreaker over those other three teams, incredibly.
Keep in mind that a team’s strength of schedule isn’t finalized until all the wins-losses-ties are tallied, and the Jaguars are still close enough to the Seahawks that I don’t believe it’s mathematically impossible for Jacksonville’s SOS to be lower than Seattle’s by the end of Week 18. Seattle will definitely have a SOS tiebreaker on all other aforementioned 8-9 teams.
Obviously the Commanders beating the Cowboys is the only outcome that looks extremely unlikely, but everything else is not exactly out of the question (yes, including the Seahawks blowing the Rams game). Chances are a Seahawks loss would still be enough to get themselves in the top-15 anyway.
Buckle up, everyone! This is going to be a whirlwind final weekend of regular season football.