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Seahawks playoff chances: How fading Seattle can still earn NFC wild-card berth in NFL playoff picture

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The Seahawks dropped to 7-7 with Thursday night’s 21-13 Week 15 home loss to the 49ers. Seattle has fallen to .500 with a 1-4 skid after a surprising 6-3 start.

The 49ers, with that victory and a season sweep of the Seahawks, locked down the NFC West title. The Seahawks’ only path to the NFC playoffs over the final three weeks of the 2022 NFL regular season is salvaging a wild-card berth.

MORE: How the Niners can finish as the No. 1 seed in the NFC

Although the Seahawks have already exceeded low preseason expectations, missing the playoffs and/or finishing with a losing record would be a disappointment.

Here’s breaking down Seattle’s fading wild-card chances:

Where do the Seahawks stand in the NFC playoff picture?

The Seahawks went into Week 15 in the No. 8 position. They are still there at 7-7.

The Commanders and Giants, both 7-5-1, hold the final two wild-card spots ahead of their game against each other on Sunday night. Assuming one of the teams wins the rematch after their Week 13 tie, that team would be No. 6 and the loser would be No. 7, a half-game ahead of Seattle at 7-6-1.

The Lions, the No. 9 seed at 6-7, can match the Seahawks’ record with a win over the Jets on Sunday. The Packers, Panthers, Falcons, all 5-8 behind them, can get to a game behind with wins in their respective Week 15 matchups.

What playoff tiebreakers are in the Seahawks’ favor?

The Seahawks beat the Giants at home in Week 8, but with the Giants’ tie, they cannot finish with the same record unless the Seahawks tie in one of the their final three games. The Seahawks and Commanders don’t play each other, so the Commanders’ tie has a similar effect.

MORE: How byes, seeding, format will work for the 2022-23 NFL playoffs

The Seahawks also have a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions, whom they beat in Detroit in Week 4. But they lost to the Falcons at home in Week 3 and the Panthers at home in Week 14. The Seahawks don’t play the Packers, who can match the Seahawks’ 5-5 conference record with a win over the Rams on Monday night.

What games are left on the Seahawks’ schedule?

The Seahawks have to follow up the 49ers loss with a brutal interconference matchup against the Chiefs in Kansas City, a team battling for the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Then comes another tricky home game against the Jets, who are scrapping to earn an AFC wild card.

The Seahawks host in the Rams in Week 18. That’s a rematch of the Seahawks’ most recent victory, a late comeback effort in Week 13. Finishing 2-1 and, therefore, 9-8 overall looks like the most realistic scenario.

How good are the Seahawks’ wild-card chances now?

Geno Smith has been a great story in operating the offense while replacing Russell Wilson. Seattle has rebuilt its offensive line and secondary with a strong draft class, highlighted by rookie feature back Kenneth Walker III.

But that story is likely to end with the positive vibes needing to carry over into 2023. The Seahawks’ awful run defense has become too much of a liability.

Because the Giants and Commanders are weak and neither is reliable regardless of their Week 15 result, the Seahawks still have a 25-30 percent chance of making the playoffs.

The concern is the Chiefs’ looming challenge, plus potential late-surging teams behind them, led by the Lions. The Seahawks need to take care of business and then hope for the right amount of help.


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