The Seahawks' Playoff Hopes

ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 20: Sidney Rice #18 of the Seattle Seahawks catches a pass for a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on November 20, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Seahawks beat the Rams 24-7. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Could the Seahawks really still be in the playoff conversation?

Though most have, at this point, given up on the thought of the Seahawks in the playoffs this season, Seattle hasn't been mathematically eliminated so I suppose anything is possible. Let's take a look at the current playoff picture:

Playoff teams in the NFC if they were announced today:

1. Green Bay Packers 10-0 (BYE)
2. San Francisco 49ers 9-1 (BYE)
3. New Orleans Saints 7-3
4. Dallas Cowboys 6-4
5. Detroit Lions 7-3 (WILDCARD)
6. Chicago Bears 7-3 (WILDCARD)

Still in the hunt...

7. Atlanta Falcons 6-4
8. New York Giants 6-4

9. Seattle Seahawks 4-6
10. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)

The Seahawks face Washington (3-7), Philadelphia (4-6), and St. Louis (2-8) at home, travel to Chicago (who just lost Jay Cutler but are 7-3), host San Francisco (9-1), and finish up at Arizona (3-7). If they lose more than one or two of those games, it's all over. But, if not, let's use our imaginations...

The Bears may be in trouble with Cutler now out. They travel to Oakland to take on a good Raiders team. They host Kansas City, who are always unpredictable. They play at Denver (TIM TEBOW TIM TEBOW TIM TEBOW) and then host the Seahawks, which should be a big game for both teams. The Bears then finish up at Green Bay and Minnesota, so I'd say they have their work cut out for them.

The Lions look like trouble at 7-3 but have an extremely difficult home stretch as well, so they could come off the rails too. They host Green Bay next week, travel to New Orleans (have fun with the next two weeks, guys), host Minnesota then travel to Oakland to take on the dangerous Raiders. They then return home to take on the Chargers, who can really beat anyone on any given Sunday despite their recent struggles, then travel to Green Bay to finish out the season. Gulp. Now, I'm a Lions fan and apart from the Seahawks, like to root for them, but their path to the playoffs is not easy.

The Falcons: Atlanta could possibly have the easiest path to the playoffs outside of the Seahawks. They host Minnesota, travel to Houston and Carolina, host Jacksonville and then travel to New Orleans for what may be a division deciding game. They finish the season by hosting Tampa Bay.

The Giants are at New Orleans this week then host Green Bay. Another tough two weeks. They continue on to play Dallas twice, never easy, and host Washington and travel to play the Jets. Tough, tough schedule in front of them.

Assuming Seattle wins out or only loses one of their remaining games, they will probably be in a battle for one of the wild-card spots in the NFC. Tie breakers include head-to-head winners, division records, conference records, and strength of schedule. It's pointless to talk about tiebreakers other than head-to-head right now, but keep in mind that Seattle has lost to Dallas and Atlanta and has beaten the Giants. If they beat the Bears and the Eagles, they'll be in better shape, and winning against St. Louis, San Francisco and Arizona will ensure them strong divisional and conference records.

There are two really in-depth looks at this issue over at Field Gulls, here and here, that I suggest you check out as well. 

It could happen. The chances are remote, but this is the NFL. It's why we watch.

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