The relief in it all was the Seahawks knowing they were already in the playoffs. But curiosity reigned anyway, as players gathered at restaurants and homes to watch the Philadelphia...
The relief in it all was the Seahawks knowing they were already in the playoffs.
But curiosity reigned anyway, as players gathered at restaurants and homes to watch the Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams play on “Monday Night Football.” A loss by the Rams would have made the Seahawks NFC West champions.
But the Rams’ 20-7 victory kept them in the hunt for the division title. Now it will take a Seahawks victory or Rams loss on Sunday for Seattle to capture its first NFC division title.
The Seahawks (8-7) play the Atlanta Falcons (11-4) at Qwest Field. St. Louis (7-8) hosts the New York Jets. If the Seahawks lose and the Rams win, the Rams would win the division because of their two wins over the Seahawks this season.
“Either way, it still doesn’t change anything,” Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “We want to beat the Falcons next week.”
Win that game, and the Seahawks would welcome the Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers or New Orleans Saints to Qwest Field on Jan. 8 or 9. The Seahawks defeated all three teams this season.
If the Seahawks lose and the Rams win Sunday, Seattle would become a wild card and play in either St. Louis or Green Bay in the first round.
In that scenario:
* If Minnesota loses to Washington on Sunday, the Seahawks would become the No. 5 seed — and take on the Rams. The Seahawks and Vikings would both have 8-8 records, and the Seahawks would get the higher seed because they defeated Minnesota this season. Sunday’s New Orleans-Carolina winner would play in Green Bay.
* If the Vikings beat Washington to earn the fifth seed, Seattle would be the sixth seed and face the Packers at Lambeau Field for the second year in a row in the playoffs.
Last year, the Seahawks lost to the Packers 33-27 in overtime after Hasselbeck’s infamous declaration during the coin toss that, “We want the ball, and we’re gonna score.”
This year, Hasselbeck said, “I’ll refrain from that.”
Philadelphia (13-2) and Atlanta already have clinched the NFC’s top two playoff seeds and first-round byes.
In last night’s game, Rams rookie Steven Jackson rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown, but he also limped off in the fourth quarter with a bruised right knee.
Eagles running back Brian Westbrook and tackle Tra Thomas did not play, and quarterback Donovan McNabb was in for one series.
“At this point, it doesn’t make any difference to me,” Rams coach Mike Martz said. “If they are going to play those guys, we should dominate them.”
Even if the Rams don’t win the NFC West, they can make the playoffs by beating the Jets on Sunday and having Minnesota lose.
“After all the drama we’ve been through this year, to be in position to get into the playoffs, how awesome is that?” Martz said. “We will show up next week and lay it all out there.”
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.