It’s the first time sine 2011, the last time Seattle missed the playoffs, that the Seahawks haven’t had a postseason bid wrapped up on the final weekend.

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Even if it’s a place he’s never been before, Bobby Wagner views the more-than-a-little uncomfortable position the Seahawks find themselves entering the final weekend of the NFL season as nothing all that unusual.

Instead, he says, it’s just another part of the team’s long journey.

Unlike every other year since Wagner arrived in 2012, the Seahawks need a couple of things to happen on the final weekend to get into the playoffs — a win Sunday against Arizona at home and an Atlanta loss at home against Carolina.


Arizona @ Seahawks, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 13

It’s the first time sine 2011, the last time Seattle missed the playoffs, that the Seahawks haven’t had a postseason bid wrapped up on the final weekend.

“I don’t necessarily look at it as weird,’’ Wagner, Seattle’s middle linebacker, said this week. “I feel like it’s exciting because it’s just another challenge, another kind of chapter to add to our story. I feel like we have been in crazy scenarios — we’ve been a number one (seed), had a first-week bye. We’ve had to play in a wild-card game on the road, had to play a wild-card game at home. And now we have to win and still not know our destiny. So I think it’s going to be fun. We’ve got to take care of business first, and we will figure it out and see what happens after that.’’

Indeed, with the NFL moving back the start of the Carolina-Atlanta game to the same time as Seattle’s (a decision made last Sunday) the Seahawks will sort of be playing games on both ends of the country at once.

But along with wondering how this season will finish, it’s also worth wondering if this season will mark something of an ending to a chapter to the Seahawks’ story, or, at the least, a shifting in primary characters.

Regardless of if Seattle makes the playoffs, Sunday’s game will be the last at CenturyLink Field this season for the Seahawks, and as such possibly the final home game at CenturyLink Field for a handful of the team’s most prominent players.

Among them are two who will be forced to watch from the sideline — defensive end Cliff Avril and strong safety Kam Chancellor — each out for the year with neck/stinger issues that have it unclear if either will ever be able to play again. Cornerback Richard Sherman is also out for the year with an Achilles injury and also has an uncertain future. But with one year left on Sherman’s contract, there seems to be a growing thought that he’ll be back in 2018.

But 16 other players, including 15 on the 53-man roster, can be unrestricted free agents in March, including the likes of tight end Jimmy Graham, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, tight end Luke Willson and receiver Paul Richardson, none guaranteed to return in 2018.

Then there are the veterans whose contract situations are such that they could be salary cap casualties, notably defensive tackle Michael Bennett, punter Jon Ryan and cornerback Jeremy Lane.

And then there is the potentially strange case of free safety Earl Thomas, who has a year remaining on his contract and has let everyone know he knows it, several times this season alluding to how he could have options down the road. He even took the unusual measure of telling Dallas coach Jason Garrett last Sunday to “come get me’’ following Seattle’s win over the Cowboys.

Could Seattle really think this offseason about trading the player who has been the backbone of the Seahawks’ defense for just about every significant moment of the Pete Carroll era if it thinks a contract can’t get done?

Just about anything seems possible given the already unexpected twists and turns of this season.

And should things not develop as Seattle needs and hopes Sunday afternoon, the sense of melancholy that not just a season but maybe an era of Seahawks football is over will be hard to fight off.

But Wagner and other Seahawks this week insisted they think the story of 2017 still has a ways to go.

You wouldn’t expect them to say anything else, of course. And you also wouldn’t expect them to run from the challenge, even if it isn’t the one they expected when the season began.

“For some reason, I enjoy it,’’ receiver Doug Baldwin said of the not-totally-in-their-hands scenario facing the Seahawks on Sunday. “So I’m looking forward to whatever happens on Sunday.”

Why embrace being in such a precarious position?

“Because your backs are against the wall, there’s really no other option,’’ Baldwin said. “You have to lay it out on the line. There’s a lot that you can control, but there’s a lot that you don’t control, and so to me it’s just a beautiful example of life, of adversity that life throws at you. And again it introduces you to who you really are. So I’m looking forward to that.”

Should the Seahawks get the two-team parlay they need to go their way, then they would be the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs and likely travel next weekend to either the Los Angeles Rams or New Orleans for the wild-card round (there are also remote scenarios of Seattle facing Carolina or Minnesota).

Should they not, then where the story goes from here no one knows.

NFC playoff picture
Seattle needs help in its hopes of making the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. The Falcons beat the Seahawks earlier this season and own the tiebreaker. The Seahawks need to win Sunday and also have Atlanta lose to Carolina.
Team W-L Seed Sunday
Philadelphia 13-2 1 vs. Cowboys (8-7)
Minnesota 12-3 2 vs. Bears (5-10)
L.A. Rams 11-4 3 vs. 49ers (5-10)
New Orleans 11-4 4 at Buccaneers (4-11)
Carolina 11-4 5 at Falcons (9-6)
Atlanta 9-6 6 vs. Panthers (11-4)
In the hunt
Seattle 9-6 7 vs. Cardinals (7-8)