Seahawks Insider

Playoff hopes: Taming the (NFC) West

Post by Eric Williams on Dec. 14, 2010 at 8:37 pm with 44 Comments »
December 14, 2010 9:01 pm
Seahawks tight end Chris Baker spikes the ball after a TD against Kansas City (Ted Warren/AP).

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

RAMS (6-7)

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.

49ERS (5-8)
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.

Playoff picture
Leave a comment Comments → 44
  1. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Playoffs!!! Playoffs!!! Did you mean Playoffs!!!

  2. “The Seahawks still control their own destiny.” If they win the next… haha… three games… hahaha… they’re…. Bahaha… “in”… Ho Ho Ho!! Hahahaha!!! Oh, that’s rich! Good one, Eric!! :-)

  3. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Eric, how do we slow down turner? And how do we get to Ryan?

  4. GeorgiaHawk: They’ve got to figure out how to slow down Turner with seven in the box, or else Roddy White and Matt Ryan will go to work in the secondary. No doubt, it will be a tough matchup for Seattle.

  5. “Taming” the NFC (West)”

    Now, that’s the funniest thing I’ve seen all day! Great header!!!

    A pooch kick should do it.

  6. Seahawkgo says:

    Miloy said as Seahawks can win the last game only while Niners can win Chargers, Rams and Cards

  7. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Thank’s Eric!!! It will be tough, however if we can win the turnover battle and have a special team’s day the 12th man will prevail!!!

  8. 2 things:

    1. There is no way the hawks will win against Atlanta and Tampa Bay. Guaranteed losses. Probably epic blowouts.

    2. We would all be better off if the hawks don’t make the playoffs. Who wants to see the Hawks lose by about 40-3 at home in a playoff game? It will be absolutely shameful. They will be even more of a laughing stock than they already are. Plus, if they dont make it, they will get a much better draft spot, which they desperately need. There is no compelling reason to want them in the playoffs. No good can possibly come of it.

  9. I guess the Frisco game didn’t mean anything, now it makes sense?

  10. From Milloy’s comments.

  11. Yeah, it’s bad enough getting blown away, but getting blown away at home in a playoff game in front of everybody would be humiliating. Seattle would never live that shit down. It’s bad enough everyone is talking shit about a team going in with a losing record. If it turns out to be the Hawks and they get destroyed at home, then it just adds fuel to the fire. There should be a clause in the rules that you need to have a winning record to get into the playoffs. Just because you win in the worst division ever (basically a D league), you shouldn’t get a free pass, it needs to be earned. It’s sad its even come to this.

  12. Dukeshire says:

    Beating Atlanta is the most difficult challenge of the year, IMO, but it can be done. And looking ahead, Tampa has placed 4 starters (3 on D, 1 O) on IR since December 6th. We all know how things can unravel when the injury bug strikes.

    I’m not expecting wins but I do look forward to seeing how they respond. Hopefully better than they have against strong opponents the second half.

  13. Dukeshire says:

    Who cares what “everyone” says about the Seahawks? If you haven’t grown numb or stopped caring what others say, then you haven’t been a ‘Hawks fan long enough, with due respect.

  14. Have the Seahawks ever been blown out at home in the playoffs? I don’t think so. However, they have been blown out in LA and Green Bay.

    I’m not going to be too disappointed if they don’t make the playoffs this year, but I’d rather that the players get some playoff experience. I don’t think it hurts.

  15. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Who care’s what other’s say about the hawk’s! They were not expected to have a winning record this year. If they somehow steal a playoff birth then all the better!

    I could care less what other’s say about our team!

  16. GeorgiaHawk says:

    We have two games left at home with two qb’s coming in that have never played in our stadium. That will be interesting!

    And I can for once in a long time see the game live at home, without having to walk down to the sport’s bar and listen to those obnoxious transplant stealer fan’s!

  17. Just for the sake of saying it (in case it happens and makes me look like i know what i am talking about) and my sick eternal optimism for the Hawks:

    They will win the last 3 games and go into the playoffs at 9-7…then they will stun the world and beat New Orleans at Qwest in the wild card round and then go on the road and lose by 3 points…
    (and then I woke up from the dream, again…..)

  18. Nice dream, DFloydd. At this point, we’d be thrilled if they win two of the next three games and head into the playoffs at 8-8. I think they have a 50/50 shot at doing it. But I tend to be an optimist.

  19. GeorgiaHawk, I used to watch the Seahawks at a sports bar too, but for the last couple of years, I’ve watched games online. There are some really good streams, if you search hard enough. I use one that requires me to donate at least $1 on Sundays. It’s really clear. I’ve even streamed it onto my TV. I can email you the link if you want. (I don’t want to put it here, in case the NFL shuts them down.)

  20. Have the Seahawks ever been blown out at home in the playoffs? I don’t think so.

    Before this year, have the Hawks ever been beatin’ by 34 and givin’ up 40 twice at home? I actually don’t know, just sayin’ though.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m still rooting for the Hawks, even though it might not sound like it, I just think that there are better teams more deserving. It’s kind of hard not to be embarresed coming out of a handicap division w/ a losing record and also believe that they might actually do something other then get their asses kicked at home in the playoffs.

  21. wabubba67 says:

    CanFan–The Miami playoff game in the Kingdome (Holmgren’s first year) was a beat down.

    I would rather move up 6-8 spots in the draft than go through that again. This team will not win a playoff game. No chance.

  22. wabubba67 says:

    I just checked the history of that game…..only 20-17??

    I have a completely different memory of that game….namely a feeling of helplessness as an aging Marino humiliated us. Guess I need to stay away from the drugs.

  23. What I remember about that ’99 playoff game is that Seattle had a chance to win on the last drive, but Miami’s DE (Trace Armstrong?) was just too good and put too much pressure on Kitna. Our right tackle was schooled that day.

    But I’m sure Miami fans would have preferred they lost that day, because the next week they were crushed 62-7 in Jacksonville.

  24. Palerydr says:

    I completely disagree with anyone who says we can’t win a home playoff game no matter how impossible it may seem. This is the NFL and on ANY given Sunday 1 team can beat another here are just a few examples from this year:

    Seattle 31 SF 6 yes we were healthy but not many looked for a win outside Seattle
    Arizona 30 NO 20 Turnovers the great equalizer 2 fumble recoveries for TD’s and a pick 6
    Cleveland 30 NO 17 again 6 turnovers by NO
    Cleveland 34 NE 14 Peyton Hillis goes off for 180 + yds and Browns dominate the game at home
    Dallas 33 Giants 20 at the time Dallas had just fired their coach and was team fail
    Detroit 7 GB 3 yes they lost their all world QB in the second quarter which is my point exactly anything can happen in a game.

    Every talking head on the planet could tell you why each team that lost was gonna win absoloutely. I won’t let anybody tell me my team can’t win even though I don’t expect them to IT IS POSSIBLE on any given Sunday.

  25. Trublu, there are indeed other teams more deserving of a playoff spot, but none in the NFC West. Wouldn’t you like to extend the Niners’ non-playoff streak another year? If the Niners make the playoffs at 7-9, you can bet the Niners fans will be gloating.

  26. Dukeshire says:

    Here’s an irony about that game; kicker for Miami? Orlindo Mare

  27. SEA: has been overachieving, falling back now
    STL: has been overachieving, falling back some now
    SF: has been underachieving, getting better now
    AZ: has been underachieving, getting a little better now
    Odds This Sun: ATL beats SEA, SD beats SF, KC w/Cassell beats STL, AZ beats CAR. SEA 6-8, STL 6-8, SF 5-9, AZ 5-9.
    Sunday after: TB beats SEA (but it’s a game), SF beats STL, Kitna beats AZ. SEA 6-9, STL 6-9, SF 6-9, AZ 5-10.
    Week 17: STL beats SEA, SF beats AZ. SEA 6-10, STL 7-9, SF 7-9, AZ 5-11. SF wins division, one and done in playoffs and drafts around 21st.

    Isn’t that about where most thought SEA would end up this season? Some wins and losses reversed, but still – it’s an improvement as long as the team doesn’t quit fighting & learning. There were like 6 mental lapses in SEA’s play vs SF, plus the usual number of bad ref calls, bad play calls, unlucky breaks/bounces, etc. A few ‘Keystone Cops’ moments, but as long as they learn from the experience (quit with the 4th dn fades) they’re still ahead of schedule.

  28. Dukeshire says:

    For me, the issue has never been wins and loses, but how they play. Whether mistakes and lapses were compounded or corrected. How the young players developed. etc… I’ve been pretty disappointed lately, I must say. They appear to be taking steps backward. SS is a great example of this. I would have thought by this point in the season, Chancellor would have begun to take a snaps from Milloy. Milloy’s decline in play cannot be unexpected consider how much he’s played at his age. It’s disappointing that Kam hasn’t been integrated into the base D.

    The running game is another. There haven’t been any real signs of improvement, Carolina aside. Blame for this can be placed any number of places (inferior talent on the line, Robinson’s injury, missed holes, playcalling, etc…) but the fact is it has not improved.

    It’s these issues and others (tackling…) that concern me rather than simply wins and losses.

  29. Palerydr says:

    I agree with what you’re saying Duke as I can easily remember watching Thomas not make the tackle on Westbrook. I don’t see much improvement along those lines as well. This team needs more overall talent and depth that’s at least another year away and more likely 2. Tackling is a fundamental of defensive football and right now they just are not executing the most basic aspect of the game on the defensive side of the ball.

  30. csungrad says:

    I still can’t understand why Seahawks “fans” would want their team to miss the playoffs. If my team has a shot at more football, a spot in the tournament, then I am all for it! Is this group of fans prepared to root against their team the next 3 weeks just to avoid being beaten in a playoff game? Really? Get off the bus, and let some real 12th Men (and women) on.

  31. Life isn’t fair and neither is the NFL. And, ya know what? It wouldn’t be nearly as interesting or fun if it were.

    This talk about whether or not anyone deserves to be in the playoffs is irrelevant and really just a waste of time.

    The Seahawks in the playoffs adds interest and a back-story to the playoffs.

    What if they take it all? Everyone loves a David and Goliath Story. What if we beat the Patriots in NE in the AFC Championship? The odds of that happening are much better than winning the lottery, and those scenarios that make some games unforgettable.

    We play within the structure that has been defined for us. If we win the West, we get a home playoff game. It’s that simple. It’s a waste of time arguing about who’s most deserving because that’s not how the NFL is set up.

    Also, wishing to miss the playoffs because you don’t want to be embarrassed by a playoff loss. A playoff game win or loss is great experience for a young team.

    Yeah, we’ve gotten spanked pretty hard this season…but we purged the roster and coaching and now we’re building a team. This has been the best season in several years, and it should give us all reason to be excited about the future.

  32. Yes klm, we are ahead of where I thought we would be. And yes Duke, I think we are all amazed at how badly our team gets abused when they lose. Comparing how well we compete now, even in a loss, is what can distinguish this team from Mora’s 2009 team.

    Right now I think it is clear that the 49ers are the class of the NFC West, and if they don’t win the division they should fire Singletary. The Seahawks and Rams are lucky to be in the running at this point. Sam Bradford is a rookie sensation, but the 49ers had the talent top-to-bottom to win the division. The 49ers were held back by Alex Smith’s erratic play and injury, along with erratic coaching by Singletary. But recognize that three of the 49ers losses were 3 points or less, and its obvious there is a talent gap between us and them.

    49ers lost 3 games by 3 points or less.
    Rams lost 4 games by 4 points or less.
    Seahawks closest loss was 15 points to New Orleans.

    To me, there is no mystery here. 200+ roster transactions as the start of a rebuilding process left us with a thin roster not yet built to survive injuries. A few key players missing is all it took to make us a team that cannot match up. A missing Red Bryant, nicked Lofa, and a tired-out Milloy, and suddenly the whole D looks suspect.

    I know someone will want to jump in here and say “other players must step up!” And, well, that’s “coach speak”. Its what coaches say when they know they’re screwed and don’t have the horses to win. The truth is that when key starters are injured at the NFL level, second string players almost never can “step up” to fill key gaps. That’s why they’re not first-string players. The only exceptions I can think of: the 2001-2009 USC or New England Patriots, as both teams had first string talent sitting on the bench.

    If Carroll can keep the Seahawks from getting blown out and demoralized against Atlanta, TB, and STL, then he will prove something to me. Our players deserve to go into the offseason with their heads held high.

    But Carroll’s most important job starts when this season ends. At this point nothing is more important than beating the other NFC West teams at the roster development game in January-August.

  33. chuck_easton says:


    It’s not rooting against the Seahawks. In fact, I’ll be watching all three games and am very much hoping for a win against St. Louis at the very minimum. Would love to see us upset either Atlanta or TB as well.

    What people are saying is this team has too many holes to fill that the ‘feel good’ feeling they and we would get from making the play-offs with a 7-9 record (or an 8-8 record) won’t go anywhere towards building the team long term.

    Plus there is the idea that the NFCW is already looked down on by the rest of the NFL. And unfortunately Seattle moreso than any other team in the Division. Let’s be honest. If St. Louis makes it you will hear nothing but how gritty this team has been and how they have fought hard to get ‘back up’ to 7-9 and into the play-offs. If SF makes it at 7-9 you will hear how they overcame a terrible start to ‘finish strong’ and sneak into the play-offs. If Seattle makes it at 7-9 all you will hear is how pathetic it is that a team that is 7-9 ‘get’s to be in the play-offs’ and how undeserving Seattle is.

    I’d rather have Seattle finish 7-9 or 8-8 and just miss the play-offs but still get a high draft choice than to back into the play-offs and drop an automatic 10 to 12 spots in the draft for the privilage of being the butt of National jokes.

    Reality is that a 7-9 Seahawks team that misses the play-offs will draft around 10-13. A 7-9 Seahawks team that gets into the play-offs will draft 20-25 with other teams with winning records getting to draft ahead of them. It doesn’t sound like much but when there is so much talent required it can be.

  34. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Thank’s Canfan.

    Since I am new at posting on this Blog is it o.k to leave an e-mail address here?

  35. Yolohawk says:

    Canfan, How do we get your e-mail?

    Atlanta may get suprised (Jeckle and Hyde Matt), if we win that game and make it to the playoffs you can bet Norelins will be ready.

    I’d like to see anyone BUT the 9ers go. Preferably a healthy Hawks, but that isn’t happening.

  36. I’m telling y’all….they will be 9-7…wait and see… will be the biggest 3 game surprise turnaround in team history….then roll into the playoffs at 9-7 like AZ did with the momentum and win the playoff game at home….two on the road and make the superbowl…AZ did it at 9-7, PIT did it on the road 3 times at 10-6….weirder things have happened….i honestly think the Falcons are looking past Seattle…..I would love nothing more than that scenario just to make the rest of the country groan that once again a mediocre team from the NFCW made it to the Superbowl and don’t deserve to be there..

    (and once again i realized i was dreaming and woke up….)

    Odds are still better for STL to win the division than SF, but current momentum is against STL. SEA still has better odds than SF, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility for them to still win this Division. AZ’s winning the NFCW is much like any NFCW team getting a 1st rd bye or a wild card (WC) spot, pretty much impossible.

    STL still has the best odds of winning the division. So, if STL takes the NFCW, what are their odds of getting to the Conference Championship game? 2.1%. SF’s odds to get to that game would be 2%. SEA’s odds of getting there are 0.7%. If any NFCW team did beat the odds in their WC & conference elimination games, what’s their odds of winning the Conference Championship? SF’s odds are best at 0.5%, STL’s are next at 0.4%, and SEA is last @ 0.1%. Odds of winning the SB? SF 0.2%, STL 0.1%, SEA 0.1%.

    No, it’s not impossible, but I wouldn’t go out and buy any tickets for it just yet.

  38. GeorgiaHawk and Yolohawk, my email is msdurai (at)

    Wow, Seattle has a one in a thousand shot at winning the Super Bowl! I didn’t think their odds would be so high! Go Seahawks!

    At least it’s exciting for them to have meaningful games at the end of the season.

  39. We all saw how they show up for meaningful games last Sunday.

  40. TruBlu, if just one player had “shown up” the score would have been much closer and we all know who that player was. And I’m a Hass supporter. I want to see him succeed. If he’s on fire this week or next week and has Obo and BMW to throw to, the Seahawks have a decent chance of stealing one of those games.

  41. letsworkitout says:

    Hawks will lose out and finish with the record most sane people predicted anyway. They were who we thought they were! Rams vs Niners decides the division. Bottom line.

  42. yellaman says:

    First off SF playoff hopes end Tonite against the Chargers, next thing is this complaint in the media about how can a .500 team host a playoff game? Well the correct response is ‘JUST WIN YOUR DIVISION” I’m tired of the complaining about how can Seattle or St. Louis host a playoff game when we have teams like the Saints, Falcons, Eagles, and Giants with better records not getting a home playoff game. Well the answer is “JUST WIN YOUR DIVISION” to those other teams then you will get your home playoff game The hawks or rams should be rewarded a home playoff game for winning the NFC west even if their record is not as good as other teams. A home playoff game should be the reward for winning your division

  43. letsworkitout says:

    lol. Niners losing vs chargers doesn’t matter. Winner of Niners and Rams wins division. Hawks can’t beat the Falcons. There is no possible way. At Tampa is really iffy. Vs St Louis will be close. Hawks have too many injuries. They could realistically lose the rest of their games. Rams will be hard pressed to beat KC with Cassel back. I don’t see Rams winning that game. So after this week the Niners will be one game back of the Rams and Hawks.

    The next week is Rams vs Niners. If Niners win they own tiebreaker on St Louis. They would also own tiebreaker over Seattle for division wins. Last game for Niners is Cardinals. A win. St Louis vs Seattle is the last game for those teams. For the Rams to win division they need one of two things. One, beat the Chiefs and Hawks and the niner game doesn’t matter. If they lose to KC then they HAVE to beat SF. If they lose both those games they are out of it.

    Seattle has to beat St Louis and either Atlanta or Tampa Bay while St Louis loses to either KC or SF.

    They aren’t out of it yet.

  44. Champion0445 says:

    Hey Audible…The odds of the Seahawks beating the Patriots in the AFC Championship are exactly ZERO, why you ask??? Well the Seahawks are in the NFC have been since 2002. I can’t believe you are that far behind man. Do some research before you post things like thhat.

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