Here are three non-Seahawks things to watch in the NFL this week (well, sort of).
THE ‘WHO SHOULD SEAHAWK FANS ROOT FOR?’ BOWL
Two teams the Seahawks are battling with for playoff positioning — the Saints and 49ers, who each have 10-2 records, the same as Seattle — meet Sunday morning in New Orleans.
On one hand, it’s a game Seattle fans can watch in comfort knowing one or the other is sure to lose (or, even better, a tie!).
But who should Seattle fans most hope will lose?
Well, that probably depends on how bullish you are on the Seahawks and their ability to win their remaining four games.
If you think Seattle is going to win out — meaning, beat the Rams on Sunday, the Panthers next week, Arizona at home and then, yep, the 49ers again in the regular season finale at CenturyLink — then you are rooting for the 49ers on Sunday.
That would assure New Orleans one more loss, which Seattle needs if it wants to get the No. 1 seed in the NFC because the Saints hold the tiebreaker thanks to their win at CenturyLink in September (who knew at the time it might mean so much?). New Orleans will be favored to win its other three games (home to Colts, and at Titans and Panthers), so the 49ers game looms as the Saints’ best remaining chance at a loss.
But, if you’re a little more pessimistic, or maybe just more pragmatic, then you may want the Saints to win Sunday.
For one, the tiebreaker with the Saints only really comes into play if Seattle and New Orleans are the top two seeds and then meet for the conference championship (though one could lay out a scenario where the winner of the NFC North, meaning basically Green Bay, gets the No. 1 seed and the Saints/Seahawks tiebreaker could be for the two and three seeds, meaning the difference between getting a bye in the wild card round and not getting a bye in the wild card round).
But mostly, if you’re worried about Seattle being able to beat the 49ers again at home — or just want some breathing room — then you should root for the Saints.
And no doubt, the difference in winning the division versus not wining the division (and getting a bye or a home game week one versus having to go on the road week one) can be argued to be of far greater value in a bird-in-the-hand manner than moving past the Saints, which might only matter if each gets to the conference title game.
But then there’s also Seahawks history to consider — the only three teams Seattle has gotten to the Super Bowl has been when it had the No. 1 seed and needed to just win two home games to get to the big one.
Here are two more quick things to watch in the NFL this week:
BILLS CAN PROVE THEY’RE FOR REAL
It’s been hard to know what to make of the Bills much of the season. Every time everyone wanted to buy in, the Bills would get blown out at home by the Eagles or lose to the Browns. But the Thanksgiving win at Dallas showed it may be time to take the 9-3 Bills seriously. Buffalo can erase all doubt Sunday hosting Lamar Jackson and the Ravens (and did you catch Pete Carroll saying this week “it would be really fun’’ to play the Ravens again? We assume he means this season).
IS TOM BRADY REALLY DONE?
OK, we jest some. But the Patriots’ recent offensive struggles is leading to all the inevitable hand-wringing over whether the 42-year-old Brady is finally showing his age.
He’s going to need to put up some points to beat the visiting Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes in a rematch of last year’s AFC Conference title tilt.