You’re ready to sit on the couch and watch an NFL Sunday that doesn’t include the Seahawks. But you inevitably wonder how any of what you’ll see impacts the Seahawks.
You’re in luck.
Consider this something of a six-point primer on the Seahawks’ postseason projections and how things could change over the weekend:
1. Seattle CANNOT clinch a playoff spot this week but it CAN next weekend.
And while there figure to be plenty of scenarios after this weekend for how the Seahawks can clinch a spot by Dec. 8, especially if they beat Minnesota on Monday, here is the easiest to remember — if the Seahawks defeat the Vikings and then the Rams next Sunday in Los Angeles, they are in the playoffs. At that point, they would have 11 victories and at least have a wild-card spot wrapped up, with only two teams remaining that could be wild cards that could have fewer than six losses (49ers if they didn’t win the West, at which point Seattle would have won the West, and Vikings and/or Packers, one of whom will win the NFC North).
2. Seattle CAN move into the lead in the NFC West with a loss by the 49ers and a win Monday.
So, that’s pretty simple, isn’t it? And as of Saturday, that’s what the oddsmakers expect to happen as Baltimore is a 5 1/2-point favorite over the visiting 49ers while the Seahawks are a three-point favorite over the visiting Vikings.
If those two things happen, Seattle and the 49ers are each 10-2 but the Seahawks hold the tiebreaker over San Francisco because of their victory in Santa Clara on Nov. 11. The Seahawks also have the added comfort of knowing the 49ers still have to come to Seattle to end the regular season Dec. 29.
3. Seattle COULD also move into the number-two seed in the NFC — but New Orleans remains a problem.
If the above scenario happens, then the Seahawks will hold the number-two seed in the NFC after the Saints, who clinched the NFC South with a victory Thanksgiving night against Atlanta.
New Orleans is also 10-2, but its win over the Seahawks gives it the head-to-head tiebreaker over Seattle.
And that obviously could remain a problem for the Seahawks, whose goal is to get the No. 1 seed. The three times Seattle has gotten to the Super Bowl it has done so by having the top seed and then winning two playoff games at home (in 2005, 2013 and 2014).
Seattle enters the weekend holding the No. 5 seed and as of today would play Dallas (which will hold the lead in the NFC East at the end of Sunday regardless of what the Eagles do due to the head-to-head tiebreaker) in the wild-card round.
4. That COULD mean the Seahawks will be rooting for the, uh, 49ers next week.
The Saints have four games left and will likely be favored in their last three — at home against the Indianapolis Colts and on the road at Tennessee and Carolina.
Next week, though, the Saints host the 49ers in what looms as the biggest threat standing between New Orleans and the number-one seed.
Given that the Seahawks can take care of the 49ers themselves next month, that means Seattle fans will need to root for San Francisco if the biggest worry is the number-one seed.
You could debate, though, that until the division is secure, you might still want the 49ers to lose, as the difference between winning a division and having a bye and then a home game in the divisional round feels greater than the difference in being the one or the two seed — you have to get to the conference-title game first for that to matter.
All at least fun to think about.
5. Yes, keep rooting for Green Bay to lose.
The Packers play at the New York Giants on Sunday and are six-point favorites, expected to get to 9-3
But if Green Bay loses and Seattle beats the Vikings, the Packers and Minnesota would top the NFC Central at 8-4. The Packers have the tiebreaker on the Vikings because of a victory over Minnesota in September. But the two teams play again Dec. 23, assuring at least one a loss (or both a tie).
Obviously, Seattle can take care of any potential tiebreakers with the Vikings by beating Minnesota. And if Green Bay gets another loss or two, then any threat from the NFC North champ taking a top-two seed could go away quickly.
6. There WILL BE a bittersweet LOB reunion.
Finally, a non-playoff note — the Ravens-49ers game will mark the first time two founding members of the Legion of Boom will be on the same field at the same time since the ill-fated game at Arizona on Nov. 9, 2017, when both Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman saw their Seattle careers come to an end.
Sherman faced Seattle twice last season but only after Earl Thomas saw his Seahawks career come to an end on the same Arizona field.
But Sunday, Sherman and Thomas will be reunited in Baltimore, just as no one could ever have anticipated two years ago.