State of Seahawks’ playoffs chances, where pick from Broncos sits

Jan 1, 2023, 4:43 PM | Updated: 6:05 pm
Seahawks Pete Carroll...
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on the field prior to Seattle's win over the New York Jets on Jan. 1, 2023. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

There is just one week to go in the NFL regular season, and a two very important things for the Seahawks are yet to be settled.

First, will they return to the playoffs after missing out last year for the first time in four seasons? And just how high will their first-round pick coming from the Denver Broncos be in April’s NFL Draft?

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On the heels of Seattle’s huge 23-6 win over the New York Jets in Week 17 play on Sunday that kept its postseason hopes alive, here’s a look at where both things stand.

How the Seahawks can make the playoffs

At 8-8, Seattle is one of three teams tied for the seventh and final postseason berth out of the NFC. Once you look at those three teams, however, it gets confusing.

That’s because the Seahawks are in a deadlock with the Detroit Lions, who they beat 48-45 in October, and the Green Bay Packers, who they don’t play this season. We shouldn’t get bogged down in a three-way tiebreaker scenario (or the fact Seattle technically holds the spot), though, because the Lions and Packers play each other in Week 18 – so unless they tie, one will finish 9-8 and the other will be 8-9.

That means Seattle’s finale of the regular season against the Los Angeles Rams (5-11) is do or die, because a Seahawks loss would ensure they finish with a worse record than whichever team wins the Lions-Packers matchup. A Seahawks win will not guarantee a playoff spot, however.

By virtue of conference record, which is the second tiebreaker for wild card berths (after head-to-head record), Green Bay has the edge if it ties with Seattle at 9-8. A Seahawks win and Packers tie, however, still gives Seattle the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoffs.

Here’s a simple guide for Week 19.

Seattle makes the playoffs if:

Seahawks beats the Rams and  Lions beat or tie the Packers

Seattle misses the playoffs if:

Seahawks lose to Rams or  Packers beat the Lions

2023 NFL Draft

Just as important for the Seahawks is where the last of two first-round draft picks they received from the Denver Broncos in the Russell Wilson trade lands. Seattle actually gets Denver’s first- and second-round picks in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft, set for April 27-29 in Kansas City.

Where things stand

The Broncos are tied for the third-worst record in the league at 4-12 and have the edge over the Arizona Cardinals (also 4-12) for the No. 3 overall pick.

What could happen next week

The dream of the Seahawks getting the No. 1 overall pick for the first time in franchise history is over for this year, but a Broncos loss and a Week 18 win by the Chicago Bears (3-13) would bump the selection up to No. 2 overall. That’s not likely, however, with the Bears facing the 12-4 Minnesota Vikings in Week 18.

There is still a chance of the pick falling to either No. 4 or No. 5, though. If Denver can beat the Los Angeles Chargers (10-6) in its season finale, it could jump in the standings ahead of Arizona, which faces the NFC West champion 49ers next week, and/or Indianapolis (4-11-1), which will wrap up the season against the Houston Texas.

Houston (2-13-1) is currently in line for the top pick, but a Texans win and Bears loss in Week 18 would flip that.

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