Not only will the Seahawks' playoff fate be decided on Sunday but so will the final two opponents on the team's 2016 regular-season schedule.
At stake this weekend is not only where Seattle will begin the NFL playoffs, but also the final composition of the Seahawks’ 2016 regular season schedule.
The latter will be determined by results of the Minnesota-Green Bay game and the Philadelphia-New York Giants game.
First, it’s worth recalling that most of the opponents for all teams are set in advance based on the NFL’s scheduling format.
As does every NFL team, Seattle plays six of its 16 regular season games each year against its three other NFC West foes — each once at home and on the road.
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All NFC West teams in 2016 also play each of the teams in the AFC East and NFC South. So that’s another eight games, making up 14 of the 16.
That means that the Seahawks next season will host St. Louis, San Francisco and Arizona for its other NFC West division games, and also will host Atlanta and Carolina (yep, the Panthers again) as part of their four games against the NFC South. Seattle will also host Buffalo and Miami as two of its four games against the AFC East.
Seattle’s road games will be at St. Louis, San Francisco and Arizona, and then at New Orleans and Tampa Bay of the NFC South and at New England and the New York Jets of the AFC East.
Each NFC West team then also plays games against the teams in the NFC East and NFC North that finish in the same position. Seattle is assured of finishing second in the NFC West.
So that means the Seahawks will play the second place teams in the NFC North (on the road) and NFC East (at home).
Each will be decided Sunday.
Whoever loses the Green Bay-Minnesota game will finish in second place, and will represent the Seahawks’ final road opponent in 2016 (so yep, another trip to one or the other, though the good news is Seattle can’t play the loser of that game in the Wild Card round of the playoffs).
And whoever wins the Philly-New York Giants game will finish second in the NFC East and then come to Seattle next season to round out the Seahawks’ home schedule.