Hard to believe, but with the NFC West a league-worst 12-22 outside their division, one of these four teams will got to the postseason and host a playoff game.
And even though the Seahawks looked awful against San Francisco on Sunday, at 6-7 and tied with St. Louis atop the NFC West, Seattle is still in the thick of a division title race.
“In order to stay in the race you have to win,” Seahawks safety Lawyer Milloy said. “If you don’t win, you don’t have a shot, so ultimately when we get them (St. Louis) at our place, it will mean something. That’s when it gets fun.
“At the end, the records don’t matter, as long as you get in that tournament. And we’re just fortunate to have a chance at this point. And it’s up to us to do something about it.”
Of course, if the Seahawks win the rest of their games they are the division winners and in the playoffs at 9-7.
If Seattle wins two of their last three games, including a win in the season finale against St. Louis, and San Francisco loses one of its three remaining games, Seattle would go to the playoffs at 8-8.
Also, if the Seahawks defeat Atlanta and Tampa Bay, but lose in the final game of the season against the Rams, Seattle still could make it into the playoffs at 8-8 if St. Louis loses to Kansas City and San Francisco, and the Niners lose to either San Diego or Arizona, while defeating the Rams in two weeks.
If Seattle, San Francisco and St. Louis tie at 7-9, then the Niners would go to the playoffs by virtue of their better NFC West division record at 5-1.
Take a closer look at all of the different scenarios by checking out ESPN’s NFL playoff machine.
And if you’re looking for a run down of the tiebreaker scenarios for teams within their division, you can check that out here.
1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
5. Strength of victory.
6. Strength of schedule.
7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
9. Best net points in common games.
10. Best net points in all games.
11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
12. Coin toss
Take a look at the schedules for NFC West teams for the rest of the year, along with the playoff scenarios
Opponents: Sunday vs. Kansas City (8-5), Dec. 26: vs. San Francisco (5-8), Jan. 2: at Seattle (6-7).
Opponents’ combined record: (19-20)
Division record: 2-2.
Conference record: 4-6
The skinny: Just like Seattle, if the Rams win their next three games, they’re in.
Opponents: Sunday vs. Atlanta (11-2), Dec. 26: at Tampa Bay (8-5) and Jan. 2: vs. St. Louis (6-7).
Opponents’ combined record: (25-14).
Division record: 3-2
Conference record: 5-4
The skinny: The Seahawks still control their own destiny. If they win the next three games they’re in.
Opponents: Thursday at San Diego (7-6), Dec. 26: at St. Louis (6-7) and Jan. 2 vs. Arizona (4-9).
Opponents’ combined record: (17-20).
Division record: 3-1
Conference record: 3-7
Elimination scenario: If the Niners lose one of the three remaining games, they’re out.
The skinny: If the 49ers can go 2-1 the rest of the way, with their lone loss coming at San Diego, they can still win the division if the Rams lose to Kansas City and the Seahawks also lose to Atlanta and at Tampa Bay. If the 49ers finish in a tie for the division lead, they would win the tie-breaker because of a better division record.
Opponents: Sunday at Carolina (1-12), Dec. 25 vs. Dallas (4-9) and Jan. 2 at San Francisco (5-8).
Opponents’ combined record: (10-29).
Division record: 1-4
Conference record: 2-7
Elimination scenario: The Cardinals are eliminated from playoff contention with a loss or tie, a Seattle win or tie, or a St. Louis win or tie
The skinny: The Cardinals still have faint playoff hopes, but it would take Arizona winning out, the Niners finishing 1-2 and Seattle and St. Louis losing their next two and then finishing in a tie in their final game.