DANNY ONEIL

O’Neil: How the Seahawks can still make the playoffs for 6th straight year

Dec 17, 2017, 8:59 PM | Updated: Dec 18, 2017, 11:34 am
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks' backs are up against the wall to get a playoff spot. (AP)...
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks' backs are up against the wall to get a playoff spot. (AP)
(AP)

The Seahawks’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams didn’t eliminate Seattle from playoff contention.

It did, however, make a sixth straight playoff berth a lot less likely.

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The Seahawks are 8-6, and they need help to make the playoffs whether it’s winning the division (which remains at least theoretically possible) or getting to a wild-card berth, which is more reasonable though not altogether likely.

It also makes next week’s game in Dallas a virtual eliminator game with the loser having its playoff hopes all but extinguished. The Cowboys’ victory over Oakland on Sunday night didn’t make it any harder for the Seahawks to make the playoffs thought it did ensure the Cowboys (8-6) are going to be bringing the most motivation – and desperation – into next week’s game.

So how do the Seahawks make the playoffs? We’ll start with the pipedream.

Here’s how the Seahawks win the NFC West:

• Seattle goes 2-0, beating Dallas and Arizona
• AND Los Angeles goes 0-2, losing to Tennessee and San Francisco.

Seattle and the Rams would thereby finish tied at 10-6, and the Seahawks would win the division by virtue of a better record in the division.

Next comes the most straightforward path.

Here’s how the Seahawks get a wild-card berth:

• Seattle goes 2-0, beating Dallas and Arizona
• AND Atlanta (8-5) loses at least two of its final three games. The Falcons play Tampa Bay Monday night, New Orleans next week and Carolina in the regular-season finale.
• AND Detroit (8-6) loses to either Minnesota or Green Bay.

Yup. Detroit is a consideration as the Lions and Seahawks are currently tied at 8-6. If Detroit, Seattle and Atlanta all finished 10-6, the Falcons would hold the tiebreaker edge because they beat both Seahawks and Lions in the regular season. If Detroit and Seattle finish 10-6 with the Falcons at 9-5, the Lions would hold the tiebreaker advantage by virtue of their record against common opponents.

From there on it gets a lot more complicated, and a lot more unlikely.

If the Seahawks were to go 2-0 and either Carolina OR New Orleans went 0-2, the Seahawks would get in provided the Lions lose at least once. If BOTH Carolina and New Orleans were to go 0-2 (which is possible) and the Seahawks were to go 2-0, Seattle would be in regardless of what Detroit did.

Finally, there is a remote scenario in which a 9-7 Seahawks team would get in, but it would require the Seahawks beating the Cowboys in Dallas next weekend before losing to Arizona AND Atlanta would have to go 0-3 AND Detroit would need to go 0-2 AND Green Bay would have to lose to Minnesota next week.

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