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Moore: Seahawks should be favored to win NFC after D showed up vs 49ers

The Seahawks are now just a half-game back of the 49ers in the standings. (AP)

When Seahawks kicker Jason Myers hit the game-winning 41-yard field goal in overtime Monday night, Seattle went from being a possible wild-card team to the NFC West favorite with a good chance to earn the No. 1 seed.

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And we all know what happened the three times in franchise history that the Seahawks had the No. 1 seed – they advanced to the Super Bowl.

Yes, the schedule is rugged the rest of the way; Arizona is the only opponent with a losing record in the last six games. But the next three games against Philadelphia, Minnesota and the Rams are all at night, and Pete Carroll is 28-5-1 in primetime games with the Seahawks.

Agreed, the 8-2 Seahawks are still a half-game behind the 8-1 49ers, but take a look at San Francisco’s next seven games. After playing Arizona this Sunday, the 49ers face a three-game gauntlet against Green Bay, Baltimore and New Orleans, and the games against the Ravens and Saints are on the road. The Seahawks, fortunately, have already played Baltimore and New Orleans and don’t have 8-2 Green Bay on their schedule this year. The 49ers also have one more game against the Rams and finish the season in Seattle.

By the time the Seahawks host the Niners, I’m guessing Carroll’s team and Kyle Shanahan’s team will both be 11-4, maybe 12-3. To win the NFC West and secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the Seahawks obviously would have to beat the 49ers in this scenario.

Green Bay at 8-2, New Orleans at 7-2 and Minnesota at 7-3 all have a reasonable shot at the No. 1 seed, too. Based on their remaining schedules, I’d give the Packers the best chance at threatening Seattle and San Francisco for the top seed. In four of their last six games the Packers face teams with losing records, including the 2-8 Giants and 1-8 Redskins.

The Vikings also face four teams with losing records in their last six games, but Seattle has a one-game lead over Minnesota right now. The Saints face two teams with losing records in their last seven games and hold the tiebreaker over the Seahawks due to a Week 3 win in Seattle, but their schedule is almost as difficult as San Francisco’s and Sean Payton’s team is coming off a surprising double-digit loss to Atlanta on Sunday.

After watching Monday night’s game and seeing the contenders’ schedules the rest of the way, I’m convinced that Seattle should be favored to finish with the conference’s best record. I say that only because the Seahawks’ defense finally showed up and looked for the first time like a Super Bowl-caliber unit.

I don’t know where it came from because there were only previous indications that it was a subpar defense. How can you explain a pass rush that had posted only 15 sacks this year coming up with five against a San Francisco offensive line that had allowed only 12 sacks in eight games? I’ll take a stab at that one – Human Nature came into play. After the game, Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner said: “Their defense was considered the best, and we wanted to show otherwise.”

Hopefully that defense will continue to replace the one that allowed mediocre quarterbacks to tear it apart in the first half of the season. If that happens, everything’s on the table for the Seahawks.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jim Moore on Twitter.

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