Did Week 12 Loss to Dolphins Doom Seattle Seahawks' Playoff Hopes?

Nick KostoraContributor IIINovember 25, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 25:  Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks looks on during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The NFC playoff picture continues to get more convoluted, and the Seattle Seahawks' Week 12 loss to the Miami Dolphins did them no favors.

Seattle is a team perennially on the edge of playoff contention, fighting for a Wild Card spot, and this season looks to be no different, but falling to 6-5 may spell doom for the Seahawks.

Seattle's next contest is a tough road game at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears, and a Week 16 meeting with the 49ers is looming as well.

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints are kicking things into high gear and firmly cementing themselves as playoff contenders. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won four of their last five games and are coming off a close one-point loss to the Atlanta Falcons, and Minnesota, Dallas and Washington are all still lurking at 5-6 or 6-5 as well. 

The point of this mess of teams and records is that Seattle's loss drops them from head of the pack to stuck right in the middle. The Seahawks will be facing stout pass defenses in the likes of Chicago, San Francisco and Arizona in the coming weeks.

Can Russell Wilson and Seattle's 32nd-ranked passing offense take over a ball game when faced with the best secondaries the league has to offer? Wilson is averaging a mere 174 yards passing per game and has leaned heavily on RB Marshawn Lynch to shoulder the offensive workload.

The Miami Dolphins decided to take Lynch out of the game in Week 12 and saw tremendous results because of it. Lynch rushed for just 46 yards on 19 carries with no touchdowns while Wilson averaged only eight yards per throw.

Teams are going to dare Wilson to expand upon the vertical passing game as the season winds down, and his ability to do so will decide if the Seahawks remain in playoff contention.

The Bears looked great in a Week 12 win over the Vikings and will be an extremely tough team to beat, especially when Seattle has emerged victorious in just one road game so far this season. Then the Seahawks must face an Arizona team that beat them in Week 1, followed by another road game against the Bills.

The season wraps up with tough divisional contests against the 49ers and Rams. This is certainly no cake walk schedule, and losing to Miami puts Seattle in an extremely precarious position.

Can the Seahawks overcome this difficult schedule and make the playoffs? It is possible, but the outlook is grim at best.