Seahawks Playoff Chances Will Take Wild Swing With Week 13 Results

Jaxon Smith-Njiba and the Seahawks need to beat the Cowboys in Week 13 to help their playoff chances.

Getty Jaxon Smith-Njigba of the Seattle Seahawks vs. the Dallas Cowboys in the 2023 preseason.

The Seattle Seahawks face an absolute must-win game in Week 13 against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football. And this isn’t just the normal NFL analyst “must win” hyperbole. At 6-5 and playing the team right ahead of them in the NFC standings, a win vs. the Cowboys would skyrocket the Seahawks’ playoff chances, while a loss would tank their odds of making the postseason.

The Seahawks’ playoff chances rest on Week 13 vs. the Cowboys

At the end of October, the Seahawks were flying high with a 5-2 record. They looked like a no-doubt NFC playoff team that may even be able to challenge the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC West crown.

One month later, Seattle has dropped three of its last four games, including two crucial divisional matchups to the 49ers and Los Angeles Rams, and now the team’s playoff hopes are hanging by a thread.

Pete Carroll’s squad is currently the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs, one spot behind the 8-3 Cowboys and one ahead of the 6-6 Minnesota Vikings.

The results of the Seahawks’ Week 13 matchup with the Cowboys will go a long way in deciding whether the franchise makes its second-straight playoff appearance or if Geno Smith and company are sitting at home in mid-January.

Saying this Thursday night tilt is a must-win for the Seahawks is not overstating the importance of this game. The team currently has a 49% chance of making the postseason, per PFF’s Power Rankings tool.

If the Seahawks bring home the W on Thursday, their chances of making the playoffs jump up to 74%. If they lose, they plummet to 37%, according to PFF. That’s a massive 37% difference. Only the Denver Broncos will have a bigger swing in their playoff chances with a win vs. a loss this weekend (64%-21%, 43% difference).

What It Will Take For Seattle to Beat Dallas on Thursday Night

So, the Seahawks must win against the Cowboys in Week 13. The question then becomes, how can they do it?

The formula is so simple it’s almost cliché, but it is also much easier said than done. Seattle must run the ball, force Cowboys turnovers, and limit their own turnovers.

Dallas’ defense ranks at or near the top of almost every statistical category except for run defense. The unit is 12th in rushing yards allowed with 1,200 on the season, and 10th in run defense, with a 67.5 PFF grade.

If the Seahawks can control the clock and run the ball, they can have success on offense. Of course, that is exponentially harder this week as starting running back Kenneth Walker III is doubtful with an oblique injury.

As for the turnovers, the Cowboys have turned the ball over in six of their 11 games and have lost three of those games. They’ve also failed to create at least one turnover by the opponent twice and lost both of those games to the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles.

Plus, no team is better at converting turnovers into immediate scores. Dallas cornerback DaRon Bland has set an NF record this season with five interception returns for touchdowns.

On the flip side, the Seahawks had just 1 turnover before their bye week and went 3-1 in that stretch. Since then, the offense has turned the ball over 12 times, and the team is 3-4 in the last seven weeks.

So, to win the game and supercharge their playoff chances, all the Seahawks need to do in Dallas is dominate in the run game and win the turnover battle. Simple, right? We’ll see Thursday night.

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