For Seahawks to make playoffs, an NFC South team needs to tank

Dec 18, 2017, 10:30 PM | Updated: 11:12 pm
Two losses by the Falcons would greatly help the Seahawks' chances of making the playoffs. (AP)...
Two losses by the Falcons would greatly help the Seahawks' chances of making the playoffs. (AP)

The Atlanta Falcons’ three-point victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night did not help the Seahawks’ playoff chances.

It did make Seattle’s playoff scenarios a whole lot simpler, though.

O’Neil: What we learned from Seahawks’ loss to Rams

First, the Seahawks can win the division by going 2-0 while the Los Angeles Rams go 0-2, losing at Tennessee and then to San Francisco.

Or the Seahawks can earn a wild-card berth. For that, the Seahawks need to win their final two games and get some help:

1) The Seahawks need one of the top three teams in the NFC South to lose its final two games. Any one of the three teams will do: Atlanta (9-5), New Orleans (10-4) or Carolina (10-4). Atlanta is the most likely because it has the toughest schedule, playing first the Saints and then the Panthers;

2) AND Detroit (8-6) must also lose one of its final two games, which are against Cincinnati and Green Bay. The Lions would have a tiebreaker advantage over the Seahawks should the two teams finish tied because Detroit will have a better record in games against common opponents.

The other wild-card scenario for Seattle is for the Seahawks to go 2-0 and have both the Saints and the Panthers lose their final two games. In that case, the Seahawks would earn a wild-card berth regardless of what Detroit does in its final two games.

Atlanta’s victory over Tampa Bay on Monday did one more thing: It eliminated the possibility (which was remote) that the Seahawks could earn a wild-card berth with a record of 9-7. That chance no longer exists.

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For Seahawks to make playoffs, an NFC South team needs to tank