Well, that wasn’t expected.
Entering Week 16, the Seattle Seahawks were one of the hottest teams in the NFL, seemingly coasting towards the top wild card spot in the NFC. But the offense went from overdrive to neutral at home against the St. Louis Rams Sunday, as the ‘Hawks fell to 9-6 with a 23-17 defeat.
Seattle is still guaranteed a wild-card berth, but the seeding is no longer a guarantee. If the Minnesota Vikings beat the New York Giants on Sunday night, they’ll improve to 10-5 and move into the top wild-card spot heading into Week 17.
Here’s a complete look at the wild-card standings and outlook for Seattle after Week 16:
NFC Playoff Standings
1. Carolina Panthers (14-1)
2. Arizona Cardinals (13-2)
3. Green Bay Packers (10-5)
4. Washington Redskins (8-7)
5. Minnesota Vikings (9-5)
6. Seattle Seahawks (9-6)
7. Atlanta Falcons (8-7)
If Seahawks Beat Cardinals Week 17
Seattle would finish 10-6.
No matter what happens with the Vikings’ Week 16 matchup, their Week 17 meeting with the Green Bay Packers will determine the NFC North. Should Minnesota win that matchup, Green Bay would finish 10-6 and ahead of Seattle for the first wild-card spot due to their Week 2 win over the ‘Hawks. Seattle would then receive the No. 6 seed and play the Vikings in Minnesota in the first round of playoffs.
Should Green Bay beat Minnesota in Week 17, the Vikings would remain a wild-card team with at least six losses, and Seattle would earn the top wild-card spot due to their 38-7 win over the Vikes earlier in the season. The Seahawks would then receive the No. 5 seed and play at Washington in the first round of the playoffs.
If Seahawks Lose to Cardinals Week 17
Seattle would finish 9-7.
In order to finish with the No. 5 seed and play at Washington in the first round of the playoffs, the Seahawks would need the Vikings to lose both of their remaining games.
If the Vikings get one more win, Seattle would finish No. 6 and play against the winner of the Week 17 matchup between Green Bay and Minnesota.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly listed the final score of Sunday’s Seahawks-Rams game. The score was 23-17, not 23-10.