The Seattle Seahawks face historically long odds to make the playoffs. But a look at the current playoff picture in the NFC makes things look a little less bleak.
It hardly needs to be stated that the Seattle Seahawks’ loss to Carolina Panthers Sunday made the road to the playoffs a little rockier.
As detailed here, since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990 just 14 of 168 teams to start out 2-4 have made the post-season.
And as detailed here, none of those teams got to the Super Bowl with only two getting as far as the conference championship game.
And none of those 14 teams to make the playoffs after starting 2-4 were named the Seattle Seahawks.
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Seattle has started exactly 2-4 seven times and only twice went on to finish with as much as a winning record.
Here’s a quick look at each season when Seattle began 2-4.
1979 (final record, 9-7): Seahawks began 1-4 in their fourth season then went on a big tear to almost make the playoffs,winning five of the last six.
1990 (9-7): Seahawks started 0-3 en route to a 2-4 record, a stretch that included four road games, before turning it on and winning five of last six to almost get in the playoffs.
1995 (8-8): Seahawks began 2-2 in Dennis Erickson’s first season then lost four in a row before winning six of last eight to finish .500.
1996 (7-9): Seattle started 0-3 in Erickson’s second season then won five of season before petering out at the end.
2000 (6-10): In Mike Holmgren’s second year the Seahawks lost five in a row after a 2-2 start.
2009 (5-11): Seahawks had weird start to Jim Mora’s only year, winning games by 28-0 and 41-0 en route to a 2-4 start that turned into 2-5 and eventually 5-11.
2011 (7-9): Seahawks fell to 2-4 in Pete Carroll’s second year after a 6-3 loss at Cleveland notable for being a game missed by Marshawn Lynch and started by Charlie Whitehurst.After falling to 2-6 Seahawks won five of last eight to foreshadow the rise that truly began in 2012.
The good news for the 2015 Seahawks is that it could be worse.
Arizona leads the NFC West at 4-2 but has lost two games it probably feels it should have won, including today’s 25-13 defeat at Pittsburgh in which the Cardinals outgained the Steelers 469-310 but lost due to being on the wrong end of a 3-0 turnover ratio and also going just 1-4 in the red zone while being outscored 22-3 in the second half.
The rest of the division consists of the 2-3 Rams and the 2-4 49ers, and as was the case last year, Seattle’s scheduled is backloaded with NFC West games giving the Seahawks ample opportunity to take care of business on their own.
Beginning with Thursday’s game at San Francisco, the Seahawks play five of their last 10 against the NFC West, and also will play four of their last eight against the West.
Suffice to say the division games are just about a must if the Seahawks are to make a run at the division, and specifically the two games against Arizona.
Interestingly, the next time Seattle fans will see the Seahawks at home comes against Arizona on Nov. 15, a contest that follows the road game against the 49ers, a trip to Dallas and then a bye.
Arizona has a similar schedule, hosting the Ravens on Monday night and then playing at Cleveland before also having a bye before coming to Seattle.
The trick for the Seahawks at this point is to make that Arizona game as meaningful as possible.
It was a similar home game against Arizona in mid-November that also got the Seahawks going last year, when a 6-4 Seattle team beat a 9-1 Arizona squad to start a six-game winning streak to end the season that gave Seattle the NFC West.
Also helping Seattle’s playoff case is that the entire NFC is sort of muddling around. Green Bay is 6-0, Carolina is 5-0, Atlanta is 5-1 and Arizona is 4-2. Nobody else is better than 3-2.
So if nothing else, at the moment the Seahawks appear to have at least picked the right year — or at least not a bad one — to start out 2-4.
We can’t imagine, though, that the playoff picture would look anything but bleak at 2-5.