With the Seahawks heading into their bye week, I figured it might be worthwhile to take a break as well and see where they currently sit in the standings.
If the playoffs were to start tomorrow, the 'Hawks would get the nod at the No. 6 seed based on their victory over Minnesota in Week 9. However, with a lot of football still left to play, things could—and probably will—change.
So what are the odds of the 'Hawks making the playoffs?
If the Seahawks can win at least one of those games and continue their dominance at home, they could very well climb the rankings.
If not, they may not get to the playoffs at all.
For fun, let's take a look to see if the 'Hawks are contenders or pretenders with each possible playoff spot up for grabs in the NFC.
Oddly enough, even with a record of 8-1, one would think that the Falcons would be considered the team to beat. However, prior to Sunday's slate of games, arguments could have been made for the Bears and 49ers as well.
While it's still hard to say which one of the three will grab the top spot, odds are slim that the Seahawks will be able to make the leap from No. 6 to No. 1. Essentially, they would need to run the table and finish with a record of 12-4. That includes wins against all three division rivals at home, including the 49ers, and a win against the Bears in Chicago.
They'd also need Atlanta to take a major nosedive against a fairly easy remaining schedule. I could see them losing against the Saints or New York Giants at home in a few weeks and perhaps once or twice more on the road, but I still think that they'll hold onto the top spot with a 13-3 record.
Seahawks' Odds: Slim to None
On Sunday night, the Chicago Bears had a chance to not only assert themselves against one of the NFL's best teams in the Houston Texans but also grab a share of the top spot in the conference following the Falcons' loss.
Not only did they lose the game, but they lost quarterback Jay Cutler to a concussion as well.
With a Monday night showdown against the 49ers in San Francisco up next on the schedule, it will be interesting to see whether Cutler will be ready to go and how the Bears respond with or without him in what should be a tough defensive showdown.
Expect the Seahawks players, coaches and fans to keep a close eye on this game as it could have serious ramifications for the team's playoff hopes.
Similar to the top spot, a lot will need to happen for the 'Hawks to climb from No. 6 to No. 2 over the next several weeks, but unlike the Falcons, the Bears are a team that the 'Hawks will be able to face this season in order to at least try to determine their own destiny.
A Bears win against the 49ers may further solidify their No. 2 seed, but it would be helpful to the 'Hawks as they would inch closer to San Francisco in the NFC West standings.
Seahawks' Odds: Slim
Similar to the Bears on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers lost their starting quarterback. Unlike the Bears though, the 49ers didn't lose, yet they didn't win either. Of all of the strange occurrences this weekend in the NFL, perhaps none was as strange as the Niners' tie with the St. Louis Rams.
Will Alex Smith be back next Monday night, or will we be watching Jason Campbell in place of Jay Cutler going up against Colin Kaepernick?
Say what you want about Alex Smith, but Kaepernick looks like he could do the job filling in next week once again if necessary, especially behind the Niners' defense and run game.
In some ways, it sounds eerily familiar to the 'Hawks situation, but in reverse at the quarterback spot.
Looking at it currently, the tie was a bit of a lost opportunity for both the Rams and, by extension, the 'Hawks. A Niners loss would have helped put the Seahawks in striking distance of the division lead. Instead, the 'Hawks can only hope that a tough upcoming schedule will cause the Niners to slip against the likes of New England, New Orleans and/or St. Louis on the road prior to their visit to Seattle before Christmas.
Prior to this weekend, I would have considered the Seahawks' chances of taking the division and earning a home playoff game a long shot, but for the moment, it's possible provided that they hold up their end of the bargain.
Seahawks' Odds: Possible
The fact that Eli Manning and the New York Giants are struggling this November comes as a little bit of a surprise.
The question that remains is whether or not we should take the Giants' recent losing streak seriously or once again expect them to rebound when push comes to shove.
Similar to the Falcons, I still think that the Giants will win their division barring a major collapse as only Dallas would appear to have any real shot at putting up a fight, but even then, the Cowboys' schedule isn't by any means easy.
Right now, the Giants are probably glad to be heading into their bye week as they look like they could use a week to regroup. I'd imagine that the Giants will rebound but still struggle a bit towards the finish with games against Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans and Green Bay upcoming.
I can picture the Giants finishing anywhere between 10-6 and 8-8, but they will likely keep the No. 4 seed.
With that said, for some strange reason, I think that the Seahawks have as good of a chance—if not better—of earning the No. 3 seed.
Seahawks' Odds: Possible
The first wild-card spot is currently in possession of the Green Bay Packers.
If I recall, the 'Hawks won their Week 3 head-to-head matchup, but there seemed to be some sort of uproar at the time that included a fair amount of hand-wringing over potential playoff seeding down the road based on the result.
Go figure that the 'Hawks "win"/Packers "loss" might actually have a hand in the NFC's seeding after all. Yes, it's still a bit early, but the Packers certainly don't look like a team that's about to fade away.
Perhaps the 'Hawks could leapfrog past them, especially with having the advantage of winning their head-to-head matchup, yet I still think that this Packers team will continue to roll into the playoffs.
In fact, with the exception of a close loss to the Colts at Indianapolis back in early October, the Packers have been perfect since that strange Monday night at CenturyLink Field in what seems like ages ago. Quite frankly, of all of the division leaders out there, the Bears—probably more than any team—can't afford to flinch over the next few weeks.
The Packers will likely be breathing down their necks as they face a heavy slate of NFC North teams to finish their schedule.
Seahawks' Odds: Fair
This, for the moment, seems about right.
The Seahawks might be undefeated at home, but they still have yet to deliver a strong performance on the road. It's entirely possible to see this team go 10-6, but to do so would require winning at least once more on the road and sweeping the season at C-Link.
Sweeping at home would potentially help the 'Hawks work their way back into the NFC West race, but this is easier said than done. Meanwhile, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves as the next two games following the bye against Miami and Chicago remain critical checkpoints in determining the 'Hawks' chances.
If they win one they stay in the wild-card hunt.
If they win both, they stay in the divisional hunt.
If they lose both, they put themselves at the mercy of more than half a dozen teams waiting in the wings. Minnesota, Tampa, New Orleans, Dallas, Detroit, Arizona and St. Louis are all on the cusp of being contenders, but odds are that most will end up pretenders.
Unfortunately, losses to Detroit, Arizona and St. Louis don't help the 'Hawks, but at least they have wins against Minnesota and Dallas and have a chance to redeem themselves against the Cardinals and Rams at home before the season ends. As I mentioned last week, the Detroit loss could haunt the 'Hawks, but fortunately for the 'Hawks, the Detroit Lions 2012 Schedule" target="_blank">Detroit Lions 2012 Schedule">Lions' remaining schedule looks to be brutal.
So hopefully, the 'Hawks will make it to the dance. Until then, they have their work cut out for them, but I do believe that the odds are in their favor as they should be able to control their fate given their current spot in the standings.
Seahawks' Odds: Probable