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.