After Seahawks’ latest win, how does the NFC playoff picture look?
After the Seahawks’ 37-30 primetime victory over the Minnesota Vikings, a lot has shifted in the NFC playoff picture.
The Seahawks are now one of three NFC teams with a 10-2 record through Week 13 along with the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers.
As most Seahawks fans know, the three times the Seahawks have made the Super Bowl, the team has had the NFC’s top seed and homefield advantage throughout the postseason.
While the Seahawks currently own the No. 2 seed in the NFC, there’s a chance they finish the season with the NFC’s top seed. They just need a little help.
Here’s how it could happen.
It all starts in Week 14
Obviously for Seattle to get the conference’s top seed, they need to keep winning.
If the season ended today, the Seahawks would have a first-round bye and would host at least one home playoff game. The New Orleans Saints, however, would have the top seed.
That’s because while both teams are 10-2, the Saints have the tiebreaker due to a win over the Seahawks earlier this season.
So, in order to get the No. 1 seed, the Seahawks need to finish one game ahead of the Saints. This upcoming weekend is as good a chance as any to leapfrog the Saints in the standings.
The Saints host the 49ers on Sunday. If the Seahawks want a better chance at the top seed, a San Francisco win would be extremely beneficial.
If the 49ers win and the Seahawks win in a Sunday night game against the Los Angeles Rams, the Seahawks and 49ers would each be 11-2, tied for the best record in the conference. The Seahawks won in San Francisco in Week 10, and thus have the tiebreaker.
The Seahawks and 49ers play each other in the last game of the season, so not only could that game decide the NFC West championship, but it might also determine the top seed in all the NFL. If both teams win out or are within one game of each other come Week 17, that game will be mighty interesting. There’s a real chance a 12- or 13-win team is saddled with a wild card this season.
Other NFC playoff contenders
The Seahawks, 49ers and Saints are all 10-2, but the Green Bay Packers aren’t far behind at 9-3. They currently hold the NFC’s third seed, which would give them a home playoff game against a non-division winner but no first-round bye.
Green Bay hasn’t played Seattle or New Orleans, and neither team is on what remains of its regular season schedule, either. The Packers did lose to the 49ers, however, which could affect seeding if both teams win their respective divisions at the same record.
The Vikings’ loss to the Seahawks on Monday night drops them to 8-4, and while a few teams remain at .500 or right around that mark, the Rams are 7-5 and are still in the thick of things in the NFC.
The Rams realistically have little to no shot of winning the NFC West but could be a wild card team if they can pass the Vikings or if either the Seahawks or 49ers collapse down the stretch.
The winner of the NFC East and the conference’s fourth seed will be close to .500. The Dallas Cowboys are in first at 6-6 and the Eagles are 5-7. The winner of that division almost assuredly will host the NFC West runner-up in the wild card round.
What’s left for Seattle?
The Seahawks have back-to-back road games before finishing up with two home contests.
They will travel to Los Angeles for a primetime showdown with the defending NFC champion Rams before a Week 15 road matchup with the 5-7 Carolina Panthers. If the Seahawks win against the Rams, they will clinch a playoff spot and the Rams would need some help from the Vikings in order to earn a wild card birth.
In Week 16, the Arizona Cardinals come to town and as mentioned, the Seahawks close the regular season against the 49ers.
Seattle controls its own destiny for the NFC West crown but needs some help to get the No. 1 seed.
Will the road to Super Bowl 54 in Miami run through Seattle? We’ve got four weeks to find out.