A sampling of national-media reaction following the Week 15 games in the NFL, which allowed the Seahawks to move up to the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Share story

It’s No. 2 seed or bust for the Seahawks.

Seattle (9-4-1), which knocked off the Rams Thursday night, sat back Sunday and watched the Giants (10-4) beat the Lions (9-5), allowing the Seahawks to move back into the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoff field. With only games remaining against Arizona (5-8-1) at home and San Francisco (1-13) on the road, Seattle just needs to win out to secure a first-round bye and host a playoff game in the divisional round.

The No. 1 seed in the NFC officially was put out of reach thanks to the Cowboys’ 26-20 win over the Bucs on Sunday night. Dallas (12-2) needs to win one of its final two games, either against Detroit at home or at Philadelphia (5-9), to clinch the NFC East and the top seed. The Giants could also slip into the top seed by winning their final two games (at Philadelphia on Thursday and at Washington on Jan. 1) and the Cowboys losing their final two games.

Point being, only the Giants and Cowboys can be the top seed in the NFC and secure home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

FiveThirtyEight.com is giving the Seahawks an 80 percent chance of securing a first-round bye and 12 percent chance of reaching the Super Bowl.

The national media had plenty to say about the playoff possibilities for the Seahawks and some other lingering issues from Thursday night’s game. Below is a sampling:

Peter King of Monday Morning Quarterback questioned Richard Sherman’s behavior during the Rams game:

“The world saw Richard Sherman flip out on the Seattle sideline Thursday, questioning (that is putting it mildly) offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for calling a pass play at the goal line in the third quarter of the Seahawks’ win over the Rams. Afterward, Sherman said he let coach Pete Carroll know that, ‘We’re not comfortable with you throwing the ball at the one.’ Then, a Seattle Times columnist, Matt Calkins, asked Sherman if, as a player, he should be openly challenging the play-calling on the sidelines. ‘One hundred percent,’ Sherman said. ‘We go out there, we sacrifice, we battle. We don’t give away our battle. You honor our sacrifice.’ Well, that’s absurd. Patently absurd. Remember: it’s the other side of the ball that Sherman is questioning. There is no defense for what Sherman did.”

ESPN.com’s Sheil Kapadia sized up the rest of the NFC playoff field after the Seahawks moved up:

“Their most likely opponent at home in the divisional round would be the third-seeded Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons played the Seahawks tough at CenturyLink Field earlier this season, but Seattle escaped with a 26-24 victory. … The other team to keep an eye on is the Green Bay Packers. They blew the Seahawks out at Lambeau Field, 38-10, in Week 14 and would be a possible divisional round opponent if Packers were to overtake the Lions in the NFC North.”

USA Today wondered about Pete Carroll calling a fake punt late in the game Thursday in its weekly “40 things we learned” feature:

Pete Carroll. So easy to dislike. A fake punt when up 25 points with just over five minutes to play Thursday night? That’s almost as stupid as calling for a pass play from the 1-yard line with the Super Bowl on the line. Almost.”

And finally, some NFL playoff picture primers from The Sporting News, CBSSports.com and USA Today.