The Seattle Seahawks have won the West and are on their way to the NFL Playoffs.
But first, they’ll wrap the season on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers (6-9). It won’t be smooth sailing for Seattle, however, if it wants an opportunity at capturing the No.1 seed in the NFC.
The top seed is significant this season because not only does it carry home-field advantage through the playoffs, but it’s also the only spot that gets a first-round bye due to the fact an extra playoff team was added in each conference this season.
If Seattle wants to get the job done, it’s going to take a win vs. the 49ers, and more.
TOP SEED STILL IN PLAY
In order for the Seahawks to claim the NFC’s top seed, Seattle (11-4) needs both Green Bay (12-3) and New Orleans (11-4) to lose. The Packers are headed to the 8-7 Chicago Bears for their regular-season finale, but while Green Bay is battling for the NFC’s top seed, Chicago just hopes to keep its season alive. If the Bears win Sunday, that will get them to 9-7 and they’d clinch a playoff spot.
As for the Saints, they’ll head to Carolina to face the Panthers at 1:25 p.m. PT on Sunday. Carolina, at 5-10, has already been ruled out of playoff contention.
There are a number of outcomes that could impact the seeding for each team, but simply put, if the Seahawks want to reach the top seed, they’ll need the following scenario to unfold Sunday:
NEW ORLEANS LOSES TO CAROLINA GREEN BAY LOSES TO CHICAGO SEATTLE BEATS SAN FRANCISCO
Result = Seahawks #1, Packers #2, Saints #3
MORE PLAYOFF SEEDING SCENARIOS
It’s also possible that Seattle could move up to the two-seed and host the seventh seed in the first round of the playoffs on Jan. 9 or 10 if it beats San Francisco and New Orleans loses. The same outcome would be possible if the Packers lose and the Saints win, as the Seahawks win the head-to-head tiebreaker with a 4-0 record vs. 4-1 Green Bay record against common opponents.
The Saints currently hold the tiebreaker over the Seahawks due to a better conference record. The Saints are 9-2 against NFC opponents while the Seahawks are 8-3. Also, New Orleans and Seattle did not play one another this year.
Seattle could also remain in the third seed with a loss to the 49ers in Glendale, Arizona on Sunday, or if the Seahawks, Packers and Saints all come out of the week victorious. As of now, the Rams (9-6) currently hold the sixth seed. This means that 12s could get another fiery battle between the Rams-Seahawks as the third seed hosts the sixth seed in the first round of the playoffs. The winner of that game would likely play at the second seed in the conference semifinals Jan. 16-17.
There’s a number of outcomes that could unfold on Sunday between the NFC’s top three seeds, but the Seahawks path to the No. 1 seed is still possible. There’s undeniably something for Seattle to play for as its Week 17 matchup with San Francisco draws near.