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Seahawks playoff odds and Week 12 rooting guide: Best and worst case scenarios

Neither scenario is even that unthinkable.

NFL: NOV 19 Seahawks at Rams Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks are still in a playoff spot with seven weeks to go in the regular season, but their comfort levels considerably decreased after last Sunday’s maddening loss to the Los Angeles Rams. With four extremely difficult games over the next month, Seattle could turn strong positioning into being out of the playoff picture entirely in the span of less than a week.

At the moment, Seattle’s playoff probability odds (using the New York Times playoff machine) are 56 percent. Depending on the Seahawks’ game against the San Francisco 49ers, as well as other scores around the NFL, Seattle’s postseason chances could wildly fluctuate.

Here’s a reminder of the current NFC standings, and then we’ll break toward the best and worst case outcomes.

Division Leaders

1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)

2. Detroit Lions (8-2)

3. San Francisco 49ers (7-3)

4. New Orleans Saints (5-5)

Wild Card

5. Dallas Cowboys (7-3)

6. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

7. Minnesota Vikings (6-5)


8. Green Bay Packers+ (4-6, 3-3 NFC)

9. Los Angeles Rams+ (4-6, 3-4 NFC, SOV tiebreaker over ATL)

10. Atlanta Falcons*+ (4-6, 3-4 NFC, win over TB)

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers* (4-6, loss to ATL)

12. Washington Commanders (4-7)

13. New York Giants (3-8, 3-4 NFC)

14. Chicago Bears (3-8, 2-5 NFC)

15. Arizona Cardinals (2-9)

16. Carolina Panthers (1-9)

Best Case Scenario (86%)

Seahawks over 49ers - Self-explanatory. This would give the Seahawks the NFC West lead, however temporary it may be.

Detroit Lions over Green Bay Packers - The Packers beating the Chargers really stung. Detroit sweeping the Packers would rule and drop the Pack to 4-7, with the Kansas City Chiefs to come the following week.

Dallas Cowboys over Washington Commanders - This is by far the least important game relevant to the Seahawks, but I will include it for the sake of completion. The fading playoff hopes of the Commanders would pretty much be shot to pieces at this point. They’d be, in effect (due to head-to-head tiebreaker), four games behind the Seahawks with six to play.

New Orleans Saints over Atlanta Falcons - Not good for Seattle’s third-round draft pick, but good for pushing Atlanta further back in the wild card race.

Indianapolis Colts over Tampa Bay Buccaneers - We’re just shoving bad NFC South teams further down the pecking order, essentially. Like the Falcons, a loss by Tampa would drop them to 4-7, and the Bucs and Falcons still have to play each other again.

Arizona Cardinals over Los Angeles Rams - The Rams have the tiebreaker over the Seahawks and are just two behind them in the wild card standings. A Seahawks win + Rams loss would give Seattle some considerable cushion.

Chicago Bears over Minnesota Vikings - A Vikings loss would drop them to 6-6, guaranteeing that the Seahawks would remain ahead of Minnesota in the standings through Week 14. In this scenario, Seattle would be no worse than 7-5, while the Vikings would remain at 6-6 since their bye is in Week 13.

Worst Case Scenario (35%)

Every result gets flipped.

The Seahawks would drop to the 7-seed and be only a single game ahead of the Packers, Buccaneers, Saints (who would lose top spot in the NFC South to the Falcons in this scenario), and Rams in the wild card. Even the Commanders would just be 1.5 games back of the Seahawks, albeit with no tiebreaker.

A Seahawks win in itself would boost their playoff probability to roughly 80%, whereas a loss dips them to under 50% based on oodles of simulations. The Packers-Lions, Bears-Vikings, and Rams-Cardinals games are the most important games for Seattle fans to watch, followed by Saints-Falcons and Bucs-Colts. Again, Commanders-Cowboys is almost negligible but since they’re still two behind Seattle in the win column I will include them for the time being.

So that should clear up the rooting guide for Week 12. Besides, what’s a Seahawks season without rooting for the Lions to beat the Packers?