Taking an updated look at the NFC playoff picture after this weekend's games.
The decision here is that it is no longer too early to start wondering where the Seahawks stand in the playoffs — in or out? and where? — if the season ended today.
And though there are now just seven weeks left, the playoff picture remains pretty darn muddled — there are nine teams within two games of each other in the NFC.
The good news for the Seahawks is that if the season did end today they would be in the playoffs as the No. 6 seed.
That’s an improvement from last week when Seattle would have been out of the hunt (the Seahawks passed Dallas this week by beating Arizona while the Cowboys were losing at Atlanta).
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But as the six seed the Seahawks would be heading on the road, taking their talents to New Orleans to play the Saints in the wild card round.
Here’s a breakdown of the NFC Conference playoff picture after this weekend’s games:
1, Philadelphia, 8-1
2, Minnesota, 7-2
3, New Orleans, 7-2
4, Los Angeles, 7-2
5, Carolina, 7-3
6, Seattle 6-3
The Seahawks are a game ahead of four other teams who are all 5-4 — Dallas, Atlanta, Detroit and Green Bay.
If you’re wondering about the order of teams two through four, the Vikings have the edge on the Saints due to a win over New Orleans and have the conference games edge over the Rams, while the Saints also have the better record in conference games than the Rams.
But everything at the top could change drastically over the next few weeks as the Rams will play each of the Vikings, Eagles and Saints, not to mention the Seahawks.
In fact, the Rams play the Vikings in Minnesota Sunday (the Vikings are an early three-point favorite).
If Seattle wins this week and the Rams lose then the Seahawks would move into at least the fourth spot, having for the moment the head-to-head tiebreaker on the Rams. Carolina is off this weekend and if Seattle wins the Seahawks would at the least move into the No. 5 spot due to having a better conference record than the Panthers.
Playing a playoff game at New Orleans would be something new for the Seahawks as they have never played in the Big Easy in the post-season.
But the two teams have met twice in the playoffs in Seattle, each in memorable affairs won by the Seahawks — 41-36 in the wild card round in 2011 in the Beast Quake game, and 23-15 in the wild card round in 2014, the first win in the postseason on the way to the Super Bowl title.