With plenty of football on the schedule before the Seattle Seahawks take on the San Francisco 49ers Monday night, there are more than a few games Seahawks fans can find a rooting interest in while waiting for one of the biggest games of the season.
Seattle needs one win on its home field over the next two weeks to secure a playoff spot, but as Mike Sando of ESPN.com pointed out, the Seahawks might even clinch a playoff berth before kickoff.
Seattle fans will surely be rooting against these three teams, but there are two additional games that forward-looking fans will find an interest in.
With three morning games and two afternoon games impacting Seattle's postseason aspirations, Seahawks fans have a full day's worth of football ahead. The following slides provide Seahawks fans an idea of whom they'll want to cheer for, what each team has a play for and another reason to cheer them on (as if seeing the Seahawks in the playoffs isn't enough).
Who Seahawks fans should root for: Houston Texans
What the Texans are playing for: Houston (12-2) is playing for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs while trying to hold off the Denver Broncos (11-3).
Another reason to watch: Adrian Peterson has two games left to try and break the single-season rushing record held by Eric Dickerson. The Texans have one of the top-ranked rushing defenses in the NFL. Not much is stopping Peterson these days. But as the Seahawks proved in Week 9, the Vikings running back can have a big day without leading his team to a win.
Likelihood the right team wins: Houston is playing at home and is one of the best teams in the league. The chances are good that Seattle gets one step closer to the playoffs after this game.
Who Seahawks fans should root for: Arizona Cardinals. Sure, it may be tough cheering for a division rival, but Seahawks fans are going to want to be rooting for the Cardinals in back-to-back weeks.
What the Cardinals are playing for: Even with a win last week, Arizona (5-9) still has to be playing for redemption after its embarrassing 58-0 loss to the Seahawks two weeks ago. Finishing off the season with a win over the Bears and San Francisco 49ers would at least provide the Cardinals some hope for next season.
Another reason to watch: Three weeks ago the Bears were a lock to make the playoffs, but then a Seahawks team who had only one win on the road came into Chicago. Seattle's overtime win was the first game of Chicago's current three-game losing streak. At least Bears players won't have to worry about their home crowd booing them for the rest of the season.
Likelihood the right team wins: Tough to say. After seeing the Cardinals win 38-10 at home against the Detroit Lions last week and ending their nine-game losing streak, they might have a decent chance at winning this game.
Who Seahawks fans should root for: Philadelphia Eagles
What the Eagles are playing for: Philadelphia (4-10) will be playing for its hometown fans and the opportunity to knock a division rival out of the playoffs.
Another reason to watch: Robert Griffin III is expected to start and that should give Seahawks fans an interest to watch for two reasons. The first is to see if Griffin can continue to put up numbers that keep him in the lead over Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck for Rookie of the Year. Secondly, the Washington Redskins might be the team Seattle will face in the first round of the playoffs two weeks from now.
Likelihood the right team wins: It doesn't look good. After going 3-1 to start the season, the Eagles are 1-9 over the last 10 games. Hopefully the opportunity to play spoiler in front of the home crowd motivates them. If they can keep it close through the first half, the Eagles might stand a chance.
Who Seahawks fans should root for: Fans want to see their team win to get in, but Seattle does want a chance to secure a fifth seed without winning a game for the rest of the season. To do so, the Baltimore Ravens need to win on Sunday.
What the Ravens are playing for: Baltimore (9-5) has already secured a playoff berth, but it is trying to hold off the Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) to win the AFC North and have a home playoff game.
Another reason to watch: To decide which team needs this win more. The Giants are coming off a 34-0 loss to Atlanta. Suddenly a Giants team that never seemed to lose in December is struggling, with their chances of making the playoffs slipping away. The Ravens have lost three in a row and have struggled against teams with winning records all year.
Likelihood the right team wins: Not only have the Ravens struggled against teams with winning records, the only two teams they've beaten by more than seven points are the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders. The Ravens don't need to blow out the Giants to win, but even with Baltimore playing on their home turf, this is a toss-up.
Who Seahawks fans should root for: Tennessee Titans. Sorry Packers fans, Seahawks fans know you're rooting for Seattle to beat San Francisco, but the feeling is not mutual. A few games would also have to fall in their favor next week, but Seattle still has a chance to secure a first-round bye. A Packers loss this week to the Titans would help.
What the Titans are playing for: Tennessee (5-9) is trying to prove it can beat a winning team with Jake Locker behind center. Locker's only wins this year have come against the New York Jets (6-8), Miami Dolphins (6-8) and Detroit Lions (4-11).
Another reason to watch: There are a lot of fans of former Washington Huskies quarterback Jake Locker in the Seattle area who won't have a problem rooting for the Titans. Seahawks fans would also like to see if the catch by Golden Tate in Week 3 will continue to have repercussions on the Packers. But, if Green Bay can finish off the year with two more wins and get a first-round bye, then Packers fans really shouldn't have much to complain about.
Likelihood the right team wins: As well as the Packers are playing, it's doubtful they'll lose this game at home to the Titans. Seahawks fans are probably better off hoping for the Packers to lose on the road in Minnesota next week.
Overall, odds are Seattle will need a win Dec. 30 to lock in a spot in the playoffs. The good news is that would just make next week's round of matchups that much more interesting.
Brandan Schulze is a Navy veteran and member of the Military Sea Hawkers, the military chapter of the official booster club for the Seattle Seahawks. For more information on the chapter, visit www.militaryseahawkers.com Membership is free for all military service members and veterans.