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NFC Playoff Picture: Seattle Seahawks Are Officially Back In The Hunt

Thursday, December 03, 2015

 

With a win last Sunday over Pittsburgh, Seattle put themselves back in the race for a NFC Wild Card playoff spot. Seattle travels to NFC North leading Minnesota this week, and with some added help from division and conference rivals, Seattle has the chance for a potentially big swing in conference playoff positioning.  The current playoff landscape looks like this, with Seattle holding a thin edge over Atlanta for the #6 and final seed:

#1 Carolina 11-0 - South leader

#2 Arizona 9-2 – West leader

#3 Minnesota 8-3 – North leader

#4 Washington 5-6 – East leader

#5 Green Bay 7-4 

#6 Seattle 6-5 

With a win over the Vikings on Sunday, Seattle would advance to a 7-5 record, and put them at least two games in front of the Rams in the division, and would be holding pace or better with current playoff hopefuls Atlanta and Green Bay. 

Arizona plays St. Louis this week, and Seattle should be on the Rams’ side this week, as a loss for Arizona and a win for Seattle would put them just two games behind 9-win Arizona, and still keep them at least two games in front of St. Louis with four weeks remaining in the regular season. With a win for Seattle on Sunday and a win for Green Bay on Thursday, it would also put Minnesota in second place in the NFC North, and Seattle would hold the head to head tiebreaker if the Vikings’ final regular season record is even with Seattle’s. The win would also grant Seattle an additional win in their conference record, maintaining a one game distance with Atlanta if the Falcons beat Tampa Bay on Sunday, and that lead would extend to two games if Seattle wins while Atlanta loses. 

Given that Atlanta began the season 5-0 and has since gone 1-5, the chance that they will drop another one this week is high, and there is an infinitesimal chance they catch seemingly unbeatable Carolina in the South, so the Falcons are the most likely Wild Card representative from the South if there is going to be one. Both the Falcons and Saints could turn it around, but injuries and poor play would say otherwise, so the chance exists that the South could send just one team to the postseason. There just isn’t reason to believe that the NFC East is going to produce two playoff teams this season as not one team in the division has a winning record, so given the current playoff landscape, Seattle really only needs to worry about keeping pace with Minnesota and Green Bay while they also try to catch Arizona. 

Obviously the best case scenario is that Seattle wins their next five games and takes the division and even has a shot at a first round bye, but that’s not likely to happen. After travelling to Minnesota this week, the Seahawks travel to Baltimore, then host the Browns and Rams, before their regular season finale in Arizona. All of those games are winnable, but if the Seahawks want to catch Arizona and stay ahead, they probably need to win them all, and the odds on that happening are not favorable. 

Arizona’s schedule is slightly tougher, as they travel to St. Louis this week, then host the Vikings, then travel to Philadelphia, before hosting their final two games against Green Bay and Seattle. 

The good news in all of that, is that Seattle faces just two teams with winning records the rest of the way, while Arizona faces three. 
Green Bay and Minnesota have tough remaining schedules as well, as the Vikings host Seattle this week, then travel to Arizona next week, host the Bears and Giants the following weeks, then close out the season at Green Bay. The Packers travel to Detroit this week, then host the Cowboys, then travel to Oakland and Arizona, before a season ending showdown at home against Minnesota. 

Atlanta appears to be the odd man out in this situation, as they are already on a slide, and this week they start a three game road trip at Tampa Bay, then at Carolina, then at Jacksonville, before hosting Carolina and New Orleans to close out their regular season. Given their struggles and their remaining games, I don’t like Atlanta’s chances to get beyond 8-8 this year, despite their 5-0 start. 

I do like Seattle’s chances to go at least 3-2 over their last 5 games and they may even go 4-1, but there is a good chance Arizona goes at least 3-2 in that same span (which includes a potential loss to Seattle), and Minnesota and Green Bay could both be 3-2 in that same span as well. 

As long as Seattle continues to win, none of that will matter much more than deciding which seed they do get, and assuming St. Louis, Atlanta, New York Giants, and New Orleans continue to struggle, the Seahawks are as good as in with only 6 teams carrying winning records in the NFC. 

A 10-6 overall record all but promises them a spot, and a win over Minnesota this Sunday would go a very long way in making sure that happens.  

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.

 

Related Slideshow: Oregon’s Most Devastating Sports Injuries

Here is GoLocalPDX's list of Oregon's most devastating injuries that have occured within the past 10 years.

Prev Next

Greg Oden

Sept. 2007 — Micro fracture surgery on right knee

Dec. 2009 — Fractured left patella 

Nov. 2010 — Micro fracture surgery on left knee

Dec. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on right knee

Unfortunately, Trail Blazer fans everywhere already know how drafting Greg Oden over Kevin Durant worked out for their team. After being be the #1 selection in the 2007 NBA Draft, Oden was never able to play a full season due to ongoing knee injuries. The team eventually waived him in March of 2012.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Dennis Dixon

Nov. 2007 — Torn left ACL

During the 2007 season Dixon had the Oregon Ducks as the #2 team in the country. That was until he suffered a torn ACL against Arizona State and attempted to play on it the following week against Arizona. After Dixon went down for the season the Ducks lost their remaining two regular season games. Fortunately, they were able to end their season on a high note with a victory over South Florida in the 2007 Sun Bowl.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Brandon Roy

Sept. 2008 — Cartilage removed from left knee

April 2010 — Meniscus tear in right knee

Jan. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on both knees

Brandon Roy is perhaps one of the most beloved Trail Blazers in the history of the franchise. After being drafted in 2006, and leading the team out of the "Jail-Blazer" era, he had to make the tough decision to retire at the young age of 28. His degenerative knees prevented Rip City from seeing their superstar ever play to his full potential.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Jacquizz Rodgers

Nov. 2008 — Grade II separation of the acromioclavicular joint

During the second to last game in 2008 Jacquizz Rodgers suffered a separated shoulder that ended his season. Unfortunately, this meant that he wasn't able to play in the Civil War, which was perhaps the biggest game of the year for the Beavers. If the Beavers had been able to defeat the Ducks they would've been able to book their tickets to play in the Rose Bowl. Instead, they went to the Sun Bowl where they defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

James Rodgers

Oct. 2009 — Torn left ACL

After participating in only 4 games during the 2009 season Rodgers went down with a torn ACL while playing against #9 Arizona. This couldn't have come at a worse time for Rodgers considering he was expected to have a breakout season. Rodgers, who was a senior at the time, was able to end his career at Oregon State as the career leader in all-purpose yards.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Joel Pryzbilla

Dec. 2009 — Ruptured right patella tendon and dislocated patella

In December of 2009 the Trail Blazers' backup center, Joel Pryzbilla, was lost for the season with a ruptured and dislocated patella. This was a huge blow to the Trailblazers' frontcourt because they had already lost Oden for the season a few weeks before. Pryzbilla was also the team's defensive anchor who provided an inside presence. "The Vanilla Gorilla" was sorely missed for the rest of the year.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropepd)
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LaMichael James

Oct. 2011 — Dislocated right elbow

The 2011 season couldn't have started any better for LaMichael James. After the first game James became Oregon's career rushing leader, surpassing Derek Loville. During the second game he rushed for over 200 yards against Missouri State. Unfortunately, James' year was slowed by a dislocated elbow suffered against Cal. Luckily for Duck fans he was able to return to end the season.

Photo via Facebook (image cropped)
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Nate Costa

Nov. 2010 —Torn Right ACL

After suffering a multitude of knee injuries throughout his career at Oregon Costa was forced to officially retire from football after tearing his ACL for the third time in agame against Washington. Although Costa's career was hobbled by injuries many of his teammates looked to him as their leader. Oregon's coaching staff referred to Costa as the "heart and soul" of the 2010 team that won the Rose Bowl.

Photo via Addictedtoquack (image cropped)
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Sean Mannion

Oct. 2012 — Torn Left Meniscus

During the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, Sean Mannion was enjoying one of his best as a Beaver. Unfortunately, he tore his left meniscus against Washington State that resulted in him missing around half the season. With Mannion leading the way the Beavers had the Pac-12's fourth rated offense, averaging 459.5 yeards per game. With Mannion sidelined Cody Vaz became the starting quarterback

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Marcus Mariota

Oct. 2013 — Partial MCL Tear

Marcus Mariota is widely regarded as one of the greatest Oregon Duck quarterbacks to ever play at Autzen. Unfortunately a knee injury hobbled his sophomore season. After Mariota suffered a partial MCL tear against UCLA he conintued to play the remainder of the season. With Mariota's knee not allowing him to be as mobile as he was accustomed to teams were able to take advantage. In the weeks following the injury the Ducks suffered losses to Stanford and Arizona. Duck fans everywhere would like to know what that season woud've loked like if Mariota had stayed healthy.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

CJ McCollum

Oct. 2013 — Broken fifth Metatarsal In Left Foot

After being taken 10th overall during the 2013 NBA Draft the shooting guard out of Lehigh wasn't able to start his career the way many had hoped. After breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot the rookie wasn't able to take the court until January of 2014. Before the injury McCollum was in consideration for playing time behind Lillard. 

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Alex Morgan

Oct. 2013 — Stress reaction in talus bone

During the 2013 season Morgan suffered an injury that doctors misdiagnosed as a mildly sprained ankle. After a few additional tests were performed it turned out that Morgan had suffered a far more serious injury. She actually suffered a stress reaction in the talus bone that put her immediate future with Team USA in question. After rehabbing for 7 months Morgan was able to make a full recovery.

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Bralon Addison

April 2014 — Torn left ACL

After exceeding expectations as a freshman and sophomore at the University of Oregon Addison was expecting big things from his junior year. Unfortunately, Addison suffered a torn ACL during last year's spring practice that kept him sidelined the entire year. Without Addison in the lineup the receiving core never lived up to their full potential. If he had been able to play this season the National Championship may have wielded a different outcome.

Photo via Facebook (image cropped)
Prev Next

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Dec. 2014 — Torn ACL

In preparation for the first ever college football playoffs Ekpre-Olomu ended up tearing his ACL during a routine practice. This was a huge blow to the Ducks considering Ekpre-Olomu was one of the team's better defenders. He was also one of the best corners in the country who many analysists expected to be selected as high as the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Wesley Matthews

March 2015 — Torn left achilles

Just 2 months before Matthews suffered a torn achilles he had become the Trailblazers' all-time leader in 3-point field goals made. It looked as though the Trailblazers were poised to make a deep playoff run. Things took a drastic turn when Matthews was lost for the season. With the team in a 0-2 hole against the Memphis Grizzlies it doesn't look as though they will be making it to the second round of the playoffs this year.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
 
 

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