Can the Seahawks make the playoffs?

With just four games remaining in the 2021 regular season, that’s the question at the forefront of Seahawks fans’ minds — up until their next loss, of course.

At 5-8, Seattle is only one win out of the third wild-card spot. But don’t let that fool you. There are five teams sitting above the Seahawks at 6-7, and the Panthers (5-8) hold the tiebreaker advantage over Seattle.

A New York Times simulation pegs the Seahawks’ playoff odds at just 4%.

And their only real hope is to win out. If they do, they still would need help (passing the aforementioned six teams above them, none of whom they face), but those odds jump to 50%. If they lose any of their remaining games (at Rams, vs. Bears, vs. Lions and at Cardinals), it’s over. The odds plummet to less than 1%.

So dig out those “Believe” signs from the Mariners’ postseason push for at least the next week, Seattle. With the 8-4 Rams on tap in Week 15, the Seahawks could use ’em.

Here is how national media members reacted to Seattle’s win over the Texans on Sunday.

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The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman named Rashaad Penny (and brother Elijhaa) as a Week 14 winner for “The Pennyssaince.”

Rashaad Penny has been a one-man argument against drafting running backs in the first round. It’s true that part of the reason the Seahawks’ 2018 first-round pick has been unproductive is a stunning number of injuries — he tore an ACL in 2019, missed games with a knee injury in 2018 and a hamstring injury in 2019, and hit the IR this year with a calf strain — but guess what, running backs get injured a lot. And even when healthy, Penny has never been able to displace Chris Carson — a seventh-round pick in the 2017 draft. Meanwhile, other backs from the 2018 draft have done fine — Pro Bowler Nick Chubb was taken eight picks after Penny, and seven players selected after him have more career rushing yards. But now, Seahawks fans will have at least one positive memory of Penny. Sunday, he got just the second start of his four-year career — and he looked incredible. Coming into Sunday, Penny had 78 yards on the season. He nearly doubled that Sunday with a career-high 137 yards to go with two touchdowns. It does feel like Penny may be better than his reputation. Sunday was just the seventh time in his career that he has gotten 10 carries, and he has hit 100 yards in three of those games. It may be too late to turn around his Seahawks career — but he might be of help to your fantasy team in the playoffs.

CBS Sports’ John Breech gave the Seahawks an A- for their showing in Houston.

The Seahawks’ offense got a surprise in this game and that surprise was the emergence of [Rashaad] Penny. In what was easily the best game of his career, Penny rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries. Before Sunday, Penny had only hit the 100-yard twice ever in his career. The only player on the field who was more impressive than Penny was Tyler Lockett, who caught five passes for 142 yards and a touchdown. This game was actually close at halftime (16-13), but the Seahawks’ defense shut out Houston over the game’s final two quarters to help seal the blowout win.

ESPN’s Brady Henderson wonders: “Is quarterback Russell Wilson all the way back?

Wilson’s starting to look like himself as opposed to the version who struggled with accuracy and made a few bad decisions in his return from finger surgery. He missed a couple of more throws Sunday, including one that was behind DK Metcalf on a quick slant near the goal line. But it was nothing like the head-scratching misfires that marred his first three games back. Wilson (17-of-28, 260 yards) connected with Tyler Lockett on some vintage plays, including a 55-yard moon ball for the first of his two touchdown passes and a few other well-placed balls to Lockett on the sideline. His decision-making was also good, often taking what was there as opposed to forcing deep throws. If Wilson is truly back, that would be the best reason to think the Seahawks can make something of their final four games, even though their playoff chances are still slim. ESPN’s Football Power Index has them at 3% after the win.

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The New York Times‘ Tyler Dunne sees Seattle’s win over the Texans as more of a late tease than anything.

Too little, too late in Seattle. There’s a good chance this is Russell Wilson’s final season with the Seahawks, so plays like his 55-yard moon ball to Tyler Lockett only tease what could have been in 2021.

NFL.com’s Jelani Scott wrote about Penny shining as the Seahawks’ lead back.

For too long, the phrase “If he could just get healthy” has defined Rashaad Penny’s career. On Sunday, the former first-rounder displayed what his future could look like if he remains on the field and off the sidelines. Penny torched the Texans en route to an all-around career-best performance as the top option in a backfield that’s been light on success this season. The numbers? Sixteen carries. 137 yards. Two touchdowns. Not to mention, Penny’s physicality and YAC monster potential. The 25-year-old certainly didn’t let what, despite his own team’s struggles, looked like a favorable matchup temper his excitement as he kept and signed the ball with which he notched his first score of the season. And if he keeps it up, he’ll be making more additions to his personal trophy case on a regular basis in no time.

And in this week’s MMQB, Albert Breer connects this late push to the ever-present Wilson trade rumors.

Russell Wilson’s starting to playing like Russell Wilson again, but it might just be too late at this point for the 5-8 Seahawks. Which would be a shame, to see his Seattle swan song featuring his playing out the string for a nonplayoff team.