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How wonderful would it be if the Seattle Seahawks won this weekend, and ended up hosting the NFC championship. When the Green Bay Packers beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the wildcard round of the NFL playoffs, that scenario became possible, and could happen depending on how this weekend’s action shakes out. After all the talk of the Seahawks being unworthy of a playoff bid, a home NFC championship would be the most hilarious twist in a playoff run that’s already been improbable.
Here’s the scenarios for home-field advantage in the AFC and NFC championships.
New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons: It’s simple for each: win and they’ll host the AFC and NFC championships at their home fields. Each is the top seed in their respective divisions, giving them home-field advantage as long as they stay alive.
Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers and Bears do not control their own destiny for home-field advantage, instead having to win and hope the Falcons — in the Bears’ case — and Patriots — in the Steelers’ case — lose. As the No. 2 seeds in the AFC and NFC, they’re each next in line.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks have to win and hope the Green Bay Packers knock off the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Should that happen, the Seahawks would host the NFC championship at Qwest Field, forcing the Packers to travel to Seattle.
Baltimore Ravens: Like the Seahawks, the Ravens have to win and hope the New York Jets upset the Patriots on the road. As the five seed, the Ravens would then get their first home game of the playoffs after traveling to Kansas City in the first round and Pittsburgh in the second.
New York Jets and Green Bay Packers: As the lowest remaining seeds, the Packers and Jets don’t have the chance to host a home game. To make it to the Super Bowl, these two will have to be road warriors in the playoffs.
For the Seahawks, let’s just focus on taking care of business first. Win this weekend in Chicago, and the rest will fall into place. An NFC championship at Qwest Field, however, has Seahawks fans dreaming, and rooting for the Packers on Saturday.
With just two days left until the divisional round of the NFL playoffs kicks off, it’s time to look at the schedule for the weekend. Just like last weekend, the four games will be spread across two days, but this time only Fox and CBS will handle the broadcasting duties. It all kicks off on Saturday afternoon when the Baltimore Ravens head to Pittsburgh to battle the Steelers.
Here’s the full schedule for the weekend.
Saturday, Jan. 15
AFC: No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. No. 5 Baltimore Ravens, 1:30 p.m. at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The game will be televised by CBS.
Sunday, Jan. 16
Sunday is a loaded day, with the Seahawks and Bears starting the morning off right, followed by what may be the grudge match that is New England vs. New York. Saturday features an intriguing matchup between two extremely physical teams in Baltimore and Pittsburgh. With both teams known for their power offense and strong defense, the matchup is like a throwback to the old days.
Follow our NFL playoffs StoryStream ahead of, and throughout, Sunday’s Seahawks game for the latest news and live updates.
Take a look at the NFC playoff bracket this morning. Step one to world domination was the Green Bay Packers’ win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. That now opens the possibility that the Seahawks could, conceivably, host the NFC Championship Game, should the cards fall right. First up, of course, is the NFL playoff schedule this weekend, with the Seahawks traveling to Chicago to face the Bears.
Here’s how it all shakes out right now.
No. 1 Atlanta Falcons vs. No. 6 Green Bay Packers at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Saturday at 5 p.m. on FOX.
No. 2 Chicago Bears vs. No. 4 Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field in Chicago, Sunday at 10 a.m. on FOX.
See how it would all work? A Seahawks win, coupled with a Packers win, leaves Seattle as the highest-seed left in the NFC. At that point, our lowly Seahawks, of a 7-9 regular season record, would return to Qwest Field to give the 12th man one final show. As we saw against the New Orleans Saints, anything can happen when the 12th man is involved. Even a small earthquake.
First things first, the Seahawks have to take care of business this week in Chicago. It all kicks off Sunday morning at 10 a.m. on Fox. Stay with our StoryStream for more on the NFL playoff schedule and brackets ahead of this weekend’s games.
The NFL wildcard round is over and the NFL playoff schedule is set for next weekend. The bracket finally came together on Sunday afternoon with the win over the in the final NFC matchup. Four teams survived, moving on to face the four teams on a bye this weekend: Atlanta, Chicago, New England and Pittsburgh.
Here is the full bracket, including the schedule and location’s for next weekend’s NFL divisional round action.
The Seattle Seahawks received the best possible outcome, traveling to Chicago again to face a team they beat earlier in the season. A Green Bay win also keeps open the possibility the Seahawks could host the NFC Championship at Qwest Field, should both the Packers and Seahawks win.
Bring on the Bears, the Seahawks are heading to the Windy City. Stay tuned to our StoryStream for the latest on the NFL playoff schedule and brackets.
The Baltimore Ravens took care of business in Kansas City on Sunday, easily dispatching the Chiefs to move on to the next round with a 30-7 win. For the AFC, the first round of the NFL playoffs is over and the bracket is set, with the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens living to play another day. Those two join the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round, set to take place next Saturday and Sunday.
Here’s how the AFC is shaping up after this weekend’s game.
No. 1 New England Patriots vs. No. 6 New York Jets at Gillette Field in Foxborough, Mass. The game will take place at 1:30 p.m. local time, next Sunday on CBS.
No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. No. 5 Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Once again, CBS will have the broadcast, Saturday at 1:30 p.m. local time.
Both road teams walked away with a win in the first round, with the Jets dropping the Indianapolis Colts behind a last-second field goal on Sunday night and the Ravens using strong defense to stymie the Chiefs. Both teams hit the road again, traveling face two well-rested teams in the AFC divisional round.
The rest of the schedule, including television information, days and times, will be released after the NFC finishes its first round on Sunday afternoon. With the AFC done, all that’s left is a final NFC game to determine the brackets. If the Green Bay Packers beat the Philadelphia Eagles, the Seattle Seahawks head to Chicago to face the Bears next Sunday. If the Eagles win, Seattle heads to Atlanta to face the Falcons next Saturday.
Stay with our StoryStream today for the latest on the NFL playoff brackets and schedules leading up to next weekend’s divisional rounds.
Saturday’s NFL playoff action is over and the NFL playoff brackets are beginning to shift into place. The NFC is halfway done, with the Seattle Seahawks through to the next round. On Saturday, the AFC finished its first game, with the New York Jets traveling to Indianapolis and using a last second field goal to drop the Colts.
Here’s a look at the AFC playoff bracket after Saturday.
The Patriots will host the Jets after New York knocked-off Indy. The winner of Sunday’s game between the Ravens and Chiefs will travel to Pittsburgh to battle the Steelers next weekend, as well. Much more simple than the NFC bracket is thus far.
New England is the No. 1 seed and holds home-field advantage throughout the playoffs while Pittsburgh is the No. 2 seed. Simple enough to understand? Why yes it is.
Stay tuned to this StoryStream for updates as the NFL playoff brackets come into focus throughout Sunday leading up to the release of next weekend’s playoff schedule.
One game down, one game to go on the first day of NFL playoff action. The Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints opened playoff action on NBC, with the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts hitting the field in primetime on NBC to close the day out. With one NFC game down, and the other coming tomorrow, we’re starting to get a picture of what the bracket for the next round of games will look like, as well.
Here’s all your information for tonight’s game.
New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts, 5 p.m. on NBC at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Al Michaels, Chris Collinsworth and Andrea Kramer have the call for NBC after fans were subjected to Tom Hammond and Mike Mayock ruined America’s senses in the early game.
The Colts come in favored by a field goal, but many are expecting a close game here. With Peyton Manning at the helm, the Colts offense is dangerous as always, though the Jets may just have the more talented team, surprisingly enough.
And here’s the bracket after the first game, as best we can explain it.
The Atlanta Falcons, the No. 1 seed in the NFC, will take on the lowest-seeded winner this weekend while the Chicago Bears will take on the highest-seeded remaining team. If the Green Bay Packers win on Sunday, it will be Falcons-Packers and Bears-Seahawks next weekend. If the Philadelphia Eagles win tomorrow, it will be Falcons-Seahawks and Bears-Eagles. The Falcons and Bears will both host the games as the higher-seeded team.
Get it? Got it? Good. We’ll be back with more as the information comes available in our NFL Playoff Schedules StoryStream.
The Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs are coming in hot, entering the NFL playoffs with just six days between games. As each team finished the regular season on Sunday, the normal schedule of the week was thrown out of whack with as the 2011 NFL playoff schedules were released. Instead of a typical Sunday game this coming weekend, each of the four teams will play on Saturday, forcing a change in practice schedules.
During the regular season, Tuesday is typically an off-day. Players gather for a light workout on Monday, take Tuesday off and get back to work installing the game-plan on Wednesday and beyond. The Seattle Seahawks were on the practice field at the VMAC on Tuesday, going through the rigors of practice in preparation for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
Here’s where it becomes a disadvantage. The Saints capped the regular season at home, in New Orleans, on Sunday with a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a quick turnaround to this weekend’s first round game, the Saints have to crunch all their preparation into a few short days before traveling to Seattle on Friday. The Seahawks, meanwhile, play at home without having to deal with a day of travel.
Call it a small advantage, call it what you want, but every little bit helps as the Seahawks roll into the playoffs
Wondering where your favorite team will be headed in the playoffs? What’s the easiest path to the 2011 Super Bowl? Why are the NFL Playoff brackets so confusing? Taking a look at the 2011 NFL Playoff brackets gives us a picture of how the playoffs will shape-up ahead of the Super Bowl and what path the Seattle Seahawks may be taking, should they advance over the New Orleans Saints this weekend.
Here’s how the playoffs look ahead of this weekend’s wildcard matchups.
In the second round, teams are re-seeded. The lowest seed battles the No. 1 seed, with the other team taking on the No. 2 seed in each conference.
No. 1 Atlanta Falcons vs. lowest-seeded remaining team
No. 2 Chicago Bears vs. highest-seeded remaining team
No. 1 New England Patriots vs. lowest-seeded remaining team
No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. highest-seeded remaining team
The championships in the NFC and AFC will be played by the two remaining teams at the highest-seeded team’s home field.
The full NFL Playoff schedule is set with the Seattle Seahawks taking the final spot in the playoffs with a 16-6 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday night. The playoffs begin on Sat. Jan. 8 as NBC hosts two wildcard games. The last two games of wildcard weekend take place on Sun. Jan. 9, with CBS hosting one and Fox hosting the other.
Here’s how the final schedule breaks down.
That’s right, the Seattle Seahawks will open the playoffs with a home game against defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans on Saturday at 1:30. The Seahawks, as winners of the NFC West, will host a home game, despite finishing with a 7-9 record. The Saints come to Seattle as the highest-ranked NFC wildcard team in 2010.
Stay tuned for all the playoff action as we count down to this weekend’s huge playoff matchup in Seattle.
Imagine, for a moment, you are the New York Giants. Just three weeks ago, the Giants had the inside track to the playoffs and were well on their way to clinching a spot in the postseason. In a matter of minutes, the playoff picture in the NFC was turned upside-down, culminating with the defining moment in the Giants season.
The week was 15 and the Giants held a commanding lead over Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants were not only on their way to the playoffs, but looked to be nearing a berth as the NFC East champion. Up 31-10 over the Eagles with just eight minutes remaining, we saw one of the biggest collapses in history, ending in the most hilarious finishes in recent memory. An accidental punt to Desean Jackson, a punt return for a touchdown with no time left and the Giants were toast as the Eagles took control of the division.
And yet, the Giants still had a chance to take the NFC Wildcard the next week as they took on the Green Bay Packers. The winner of that game would go on to control its own destiny in the NFC Wildcard race. The Packers not only one, but blew the doors off the Giants, using a huge performance by Aaron Rodgers to drop the Giants, 45-17.
A Green Bay win against the NFC’s No. 2 seed, Chicago, in week 17 completed the NFC Wildcard, leaving the Giants on the outside looking in. The Giants did finish strong, dropping the Washington Redskins to close the season, 17-14. Had the Giants won either of their two previous games, they would be in control in the final week of the season.
We already know the dates and times of the first round matchups in the 2011 NFL Playoffs, but we now have the full 2011 NFL Playoff schedule, giving us a look at both the first and second round matchups and television information for each. The Seattle Seahawks, should they beat the St. Louis Rams on Sunday night, would play on Sat. Jan. 8 to open the playoffs at 1:30 p.m. on NBC.
Here’s the full schedule for the NFC Playoffs.
Sat., Jan. 8
Seattle Seahawks/St. Louis Rams vs. New Orleans Saints (1:30 p.m., NBC)
Sat., Jan. 15
Atlanta Falcons vs. lowest-seeded winner in NFC (Seahawks, Rams, Packers or Saints)
Sun., Jan. 16
Chicago Bears vs. highest-seeded winner in NFC (Seahawks, Rams, Saints or Eagles)
The full schedule, including the AFC matchups, can be found here. We’ll know the full playoff bracket in the next few hours as soon as the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams determine the final playoff spot as they battle for the NFC West crown at Qwest Field.
The 2011 NFL Playoff schedule is set, even though we’re still waiting to find out the winner of the NFC West. NBC will handle the Saturday games while Fox will take its customary NFC game on Sunday. CBS will, as usual, handle the other Sunday playoff game between members of the AFC. As we said earlier, the seeding and matchups for the wildcard round are already determined, with the winner of tonight’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams taking the No. 4 seed.
Here are the TV times and information for the 2011 NFL Playoffs.
Last order of business today is the NFC West, with the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams set to kick off in just under an hour.
Finally, with one game left in the NFL regular season, the NFL Playoff picture is clear. The late games solved the remaining playoff spot up for grabs in the NFC, with just one spot, belonging to the NFC West, left to be settled. The Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams will hit the field to battle for the last playoff position in the NFC on primetime, tonight at Qwest Field on NBC.
Here’s what happened in the afternoon games today. The 2011 NFL Playoff schedule, as we know it right now, is also below. The full schedule will be released later tonight after the matchups are all set and the TV information is decided. The playoffs begin Saturday, Jan. 6.
NFC Wildcard: The one playoff spot that remained up in the air, with three teams fighting for it, was settled. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had an outside shot at the last wildcard berth, but needed losses by the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants in the afternoon games. They didn’t get it. The Green Bay Packers sealed their win over the Chicago Bears with a late interception and knocked both the Giants and Buccaneers out of the playoffs.
Sat Jan. 8/Sun. Jan 9: Seattle Seahawks/St.Louis Rams vs. New Orleans Saints
Sat. Jan. 8/Sun. Jan 9: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers
Byes: Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears
For the full NFL Playoff picture, including how the AFC shook out, head here.
The early games are over and we finally have some clarity in the NFL Playoff picture. One NFC division race — the NFC South — has been decided while another team held up their end of the bargain in the race for the wildcard. In the late games, we have two pivotal matchups with playoff implications leading up to the “main event” tonight when the Seattle Seahawks battle the St. Louis Rams for the NFC West crown.
The playoff picture looks like this after the 10 a.m. game:
NFC West: Up for grabs tonight. The winner of the Seahawks-Rams game takes the NFC West crown and No. 4 seed in the NFC.
NFC South: With an easy win over the Carolina Panthers, the Atlanta Falcons took the NFC South crown. As an added bonus, the Falcons locked-up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and a first round bye as the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
NFC East: The Eagles already clinched the division and are resting their starters this week. Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and Desean Jackson are all inactive today as the Eagles can just cruise into the playoffs.
NFC North: The Chicago Bears already locked the division up and will take the No. 2 seed in the NFC. The Bears are guaranteed a first round bye in the playoffs.
NFC Wildcard: The New Orleans Saints took the top wildcard spot in the NFC today. If Green Bay beats the Bears this afternoon, they’ll take the second wildcard. If Green Bay loses and the New York Giants win, the Giants get the second wildcard berth. If both lose, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take home the second wildcard berth. The Bucs took care of business this morning, defeating the New Orleans Saints. Tampa Bay just became the world’s biggest Chicago and Washington fans.
The winner of tonight’s NFC West showdown will face the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the playoffs.
Here’s what we’re looking at as the early games hit halftime in week 17. The NFC Playoff picture, and scenarios involved, should be all but solved by the time the 10 a.m. games finish. Of note, the NFC South title is up for grabs as the New Orleans Saints battle the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons take on the Carolina Panthers early on Sunday. The wildcard is also up for grabs, with Tampa Bay, the New York Giants and Green Bay packers all in the picture.
This is where we stand at the half:
NFC South: Atlanta leads the Carolina Panthers, 21-0. If the Falcons go on to win, they’ll take the NFC South crown and No. 1 seed in the NFC, no matter what else happens. The New Orleans Saints trail the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 10-7. New Orleans would take the No. 5 seed as the top wildcard with the loss. Should these results somehow reverse themselves, New Orleans would take the NFC South crown and Atlanta would be the top wildcard seed.
NFC Wildcard: The Bucs lead, but need some help to sneak into the wildcard in the NFC. Tampa Bay would need to hold off the New Orleans Saints in the early game, while hoping Green Bay loses to Chicago and the New York Giants lose to Washington in the late games. If Green Bay wins, they’re in. If Green Bay loses and the Giants win, New York is in. If the Tampa Bay result holds and both New York and Green Bay lose, the Bucs will sneak in as the lowest seeded wildcard.
There are two playoff spots up for grabs in the NFC as we enter the week 17 action. At this point in the season, the NFL playoff picture is near crystal clear, such is the case in the NFC. The final wildcard spot is up in the air, down to the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final week. In division races, only the NFC West remains up in the air.
How will everything shake-out in the final week of the season? Let’s take a look at the playoff scenarios.
NFC West: The Seattle Seahawks take the NFC West crown with a win over the St. Louis Rams at home on Sunday night. If the Rams win, they take home the title and the home playoff game that goes with it. A one-game mini-playoff for all the marbles in week 17? Count me in.
NFC Wildcard: This one is relatively simple, as well. If the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears, they get the final playoff spot in the NFC. If the Packers lose and the slumping New York Giants beat the Washington Redskins, the Giants take the final playoff space. Finally, if both the Giants and Packers lose and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win, the Bucs are in. Got all that? Good.
We’re just hours away from the Seahawks game for the playoffs tonight, so sit back and enjoy all the last minute scrambling for the playoffs throughout the day. At 5:20 tonight on NBC, the Seahawks and Rams hit the field for the NFC West title at Qwest Field.
Stay tuned to our StoryStream throughout the day for the latest in the NFL Playoff picture.
With plenty of NFC playoff races heading toward close finishes, the NFL playoff tiebreakers are of the utmost importance. At its core, NFL playoff berths are simple: The best record is in. In a division like the NFC West, though, we’re staring down a two-way tie that may have to be broken when the dust of the regular season settles.
Here’s how the tiebreakers work:
2. Best win/loss record within the division.
3. Best win/loss in common games.
4. Best win/loss in games against conference opponents.
5. Strength of victory.
6. Strength of schedule.
7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
9. Best net points in common games.
10. Best net points in all games.
11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
In the unlikely event a team is still tied after all 11 tiebreakers, it goes to a coin toss. Longshot would be the best way to describe a situation like this.
In the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks own the tiebreaker if they beat the St. Louis Rams in week 17. The Seahawks and Rams split the season series and the Seahawks would win by virtue of the best record within the division.
For the NFC Wildcard, the New Orleans Saints or Atlanta Falcons are in the driver’s seat for the top wildcard spot, depending on which team wins the NFC North. For the second wildcard spot, it gets a bit more complicated.
The New York Giants get the second spot with:
A win and a Green Bay loss.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gets the second spot with:
A win and losses by Green Bay and New York.
Complicated? You bet. Three teams are all vying for the second NFC wildcard spot in a race that may not be decided until the Giants leave the field next Sunday. In the NFC, the Western division and second wildcard spot are hotly contested and come down to week 17 games for all the marbles.
If the season ended right now, the winner of the NFC West would get the top-ranked NFC wild card team of the playoffs. The NFC West champion is assured of a record at or below .500, and would easily be the lowest-seeded division winner. Even with a worse record than the wild card team they will face, either St. Louis or Seattle will host a playoff game in the first round.
Who will they face? After Sunday’s action, the Seahawks or Rams are still in line to face the New Orleans Saints in the first round. The Saints, at 10-4, are two games clear of the next best wild card team and have the top wild card spot all but locked up. Only a huge collapse, in the form of two straight losses, would drop the Saints out of playoff contention.
Another scenario that could come to pass puts the Atlanta Falcons into the playoffs as the top NFC wild card team. The Falcons have already clinched a playoff berth, but could fall out of the NFC North lead with back-to-back losses to finish the season coupled with two New Orleans wins. In that scenario, it’s the Falcons that would take-on the Seahawks or Rams.
Both Atlanta and New Orleans have had their way with the Seahawks and Rams in the regular season. The Saints beat the Seahawks and Rams at the Superdome while the Falcons won road games at Seattle and St. Louis. Atlanta and New Orleans are also guaranteed more than 10 wins in the 2010 season, putting them head-and-shoulders above their potential first-round opponents.
While the NFC West will get a playoff berth, no matter how bad the division has been in 2010, and a home playoff game, the road is a difficult one once the division champion makes the playoffs.
With one week to go, the NFL playoff picture is coming into focus, with only a few spots up for grabs. In week 17, plenty of seeding implications remain in the balance, with at least one division in the NFC, the NFC West, up for grabs in the final week of play. The Seattle Seahawks playoff hopes are alive and well, with only the St. Louis Rams standing in the way of a division title and playoff berth.
NFC East: The Philadelphia Eagles have clinched the division and are now playing for seeding. The New York Giants continue to skid, this time losing to the Green Bay Packers. As it stands now, the Giants would take the last wildcard spot.
NFC North: The Chicago Bears have clinched the division and are currently the No. 2 seed in the NFC. If it holds, the Bears get a first-round bye and home field in the NFC semifinals. The Green Bay and need a win or a Giants loss next week to steal the wildcard spot from the Giants.
NFC South: This one is still up for grabs with New Orleans and Atlanta playing on Monday. The Falcons have clinched a playoff spot and the Saints, at 10 wins, hold the inside track to the top NFC wildcard berth.
NFC West: No teams are in the hunt for the wildcard. It’s simple for the NFC West: If the Seahawks beat the Rams in week 17, they get the playoff spot. If the Rams win, the playoffs belong to them.
The St. Louis Rams win over the San Francisco 49ers knocked the Niners out of playoff contention, setting up a week 17 game with the Seattle Seahawks for all the marbles. The win makes the NFC West playoff picture clear as day, finally giving us an idea of how the division will shake-out. Why is the week 17 game essentially a one-game playoff? We’ve got answers.
As it stands right now, with the Seahawks game in progress, St. Louis sits at 7-8 while the Seahawks sit at 6-8. Even if the Seahawks lose, dropping to 6-9, next weekend’s game will be for the NFC West crown. The tiebreakers, in this case, favor the Seahawks.
Should Seattle win today and win next week, the Seahawks would take the division by virtue of a better overall record. If Seattle loses today and wins next week, both teams will finish at 7-9. The Rams and Seahawks will have split the season series, forcing us to move down the tiebreaker line. The Seahawks would finish with a 4-2 record against NFC West opponents, one game better than the Rams. That tiebreaker gives the Seahawks the division.
It’s incredibly simple for Seattle. Win at Qwest Field and you’re in.
It all comes down to one game for the NFC West. Whether the Seattle Seahawks win or lose today in Tampa Bay, the week 17 match-up between the Seahawks and St. Louis Rams will be for the NFC West crown. With as bad as the NFC West has been this year, anything can still happen, but the Seahawks have to like their chances at home in front of a rowdy Qwest Field crowd.
We arrived at this point this morning after the St. Louis Rams took care of business at home, dropping the visiting San Francisco 49ers. In a close game, the Rams strung together a late spurt to hold off the Niners, 25-17. The win eliminates San Francisco from playoff contention and gives the Rams a fighting chance, though the Seahawks would take the NFC West with a win next week after the tiebreakers.
The St. Louis win was the best possible outcome for the Seahawks in week 16. It allows Seattle to control their own destiny, needing only a home win to secure the division title and the home playoff game that comes with it. A San Francisco win would’ve mean the Seahawks would’ve, in all likelihood, had to win out to make the playoffs.
Finally we have some clarity in the NFC West playoff picture. One game to go; one game for the playoff spot. Get ready for a huge week 17 game, and playoff-like atmosphere, at Qwest Field.
Sunday is a pivotal day for the Seattle Seahawks playoff hopes. With the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams hitting the field in a morning showdown, the Seahawks will have a clear picture of what they need to do by the time they hit the field in the late game. Where do the Seahawks’ rooting interests lie as the playoff picture comes into focus on Sunday? The answer is more simple than you’d think.
There’s a 50/50 chance the Seahawks’ game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be meaningless by the time the two teams hit the field on Sunday. Should the Rams beat the 49ers, the Week 17 matchup between the Rams and Seahawks at Qwest Field would be for the NFC West crown and the playoff spot that goes with it. A Rams win over the 49ers renders the result of the Seahawks game moot and allows the Seahawks to control their own destiny in the final week of the season.
Simply put: root for the Rams. Should the 49ers win, the Seahawks would likely have to win out to make the playoffs. San Francisco battles the hapless Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 in a game the Niners should be clear favorites. If the Seahawks win only one of the next two games, with San Francisco winning both, the two teams would finish the season tied in the standings, with the 49ers holding the tiebreaker with five conference wins.
The best case scenario, and best hope for the Seahawks to make the playoffs, is a Rams win on Sunday and a Seahawks win over the Rams at Qwest Field in what will, essentially, be a one-game playoff with the NFC West title on the line. As good as rookie quarterback Sam Bradford has been, I’ll take the Seahawks’ odds at a raucous Qwest Field with the playoffs on the line.
Since the NFC West playoff picture is a huge muddled mess, it benefits one to have an understanding of the tiebreakers and how they’re applied as it relates to the division race. As it stands now, the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams sit atop the NFC West with a one-game lead on the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams and Niners play each other next week, in what serves as an elimination game. How will some of the playoff scenarios shakeout out should two teams be tied at the end of the regular season?
1. Head-to-head. Each team in the division plays the others twice, so if one side swept the series, the tiebreakers end and that team takes the playoff spot.
2. Best win/loss record within the division. Again, each NFC West team has a total of six games against division opponents, so we see who has the better record. If we’re still tied here…
3. Best win/loss in common games. For example, The Seahawks and Rams played all the division games plus common games against Carolina, New Orleans, Atlanta, Denver and Kansas City.
4. Best win/loss in games against conference opponents. How did each team do against the NFC? If we’ve gotten this far, the tiebreakers are getting a bit ridiculous.
And who holds which tiebreaker? Should the Rams beat the 49ers in week 16, if the Seahawks win the next week, at home against the Rams, the Seahawks would take the playoff spot by virtue of a better division record. The Rams and Seahawks split the season series, but the Seahawks would be 4-2 against NFC West opponents, while the Rams would be 3-3.
If the 49ers beat the Rams in week 16 and Cardinals in week 17, coupled with a Seahawks loss to Tampa Bay and win over St. Louis, then the Seahawks have a problem. San Francisco would, surprisingly, hold a 5-1 record over division opponents, giving the Niners the tiebreaker and playoff record, despite finishing at 7-9 and tied with the Seahawks.
All three NFC West teams still in playoff contention — Seattle, St. Louis and San Francisco — can only get in by winning the division. However, the NFC wildcard scenarios will have an impact on the NFC West as whoever makes the playoffs out of the division is assured the No. 4 seed and a date with the highest-seeded wildcard team.
As it stands right now, the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants hold the NFC wildcard berths. The Saints currently home a one-game lead for the No. 1 wildcard spot over the Giants. The Saints and Giants both demolished the Seattle Seahawks this year, with New Orleans beating Seattle at home and the Giants dropping the Hawks at Qwest Field.
Here’s how it could shake out.
New Orleans gets the No. 5 seed as the top wildcard:
Saints win one of their last two games OR Saints win remaining two games.
New Orleans gets the No. 6 seed as the second wildcard:
Giants win final two games AND Saints drop last two games.
New York gets the No. 5 seed as the top wildcard:
Giants win out and Saints drop both remaining games.
New York gets the No. 6 seed as second wildcard:
Giants beat Packers and lose to Washington in week 17.
Green Bay loses to NE, Giants lose to Green Bay in week 16 and beat Washington in week 17.
Green Bay gets into the wildcard:
Win over New England tonight, win over the Giants in week 16, loss to Chicago in week 17.
Lose to NE tonight, win final two games, including a week 16 game over the Giants.
Long story short, it’s looking highly likely the winner of the NFC West will face New Orleans in the first round of the playoffs. The good news? Whichever team walks away with the NFC West crown will host a playoff game in the first round, despite having a worse record, maybe as bad as four games worse, than the wildcard team. Expect to hear plenty of complaints and call for rule changes as a result.
Four teams are fighting for the NFC wildcard, though either Chicago or Green Bay will take the NFC North crown and playoff berth that goes along with it. That leaves either New Orleans, New York or Chicago/Green Bay for the wildcard, with the Saints and Giants in control as it stands now.
Good luck, NFC West.
It all comes down to a two-week race for the playoffs in the NFC West. The Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams both had a chance to take control of the division on Sunday, but each failed to capitalize. On a whole, it was a dismal week 15 for the division, with all four teams losing by a combined score of 114-50.
With the three playoff contenders -- Seattle, St. Louis and San Francisco -- all picking up losses, nobody separated themselves from the pack. St. Louis and San Francisco play each other in week 16, setting up an elimination game for both teams.
Here's the scenarios
Seattle Seahawks are in:
Seattle wins out.
St. Louis beats San Francisco in week 16, Seattle loses to Tampa Bay in week 16 AND Seattle beats St. Louis in week 17.
San Francisco wins in week 16, loses in week 17; Seattle loses in week 16 and wins in week 17.
St. Louis Rams are in:
St. Louis wins out
St. Louis loses in week 16, wins in week 17 and San Francisco loses to Arizona in week 17
San Francisco 49ers are in:
San Francisco wins out and the Seahawks drop one of the next two games.
In short, root for the Rams to beat the 49ers next week, then for the Seahawks to beat the Rams in a one-game playoff in week 17 when St. Louis travels to Seattle. Since a Seahawks win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is unlikely, it all could come down to that week 17 game. The Rams must win next week for that to happen.
If the 49ers win in week 16 and the Seahawks lose, Seattle must hope for a 49ers loss to the Cardinals in week 17 while also taking care of business and beating the Rams at home to cap the season.
Complicated? Yes. A win next week against the Bucs, no matter how unlikely, would allow the Seahawks to control their own destiny, however.
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