It’s no wonder the Seahawks were in a rather jovial mood last Sunday despite a 34-19 loss in New Orleans.
With the rest of the NFC Worst also losing, the 'Hawks were still in first place. And, despite being blown out in three of their last four games, the Seahawks know they are the odds-on favorites to win the division—and host a playoff game for the fifth time in seven years.
At 5-5, they have matched their win total from 2009 and have a favorable finish to the season, with four of the final six games at home.
Three of those teams have winning records, including Kansas City, which comes to Qwest Field this weekend. The Chiefs lead the league in rushing and will not be a pushover by any means. They are coming off a 31-13 blowout of Arizona, a team the Seahawks beat 36-18 two weeks ago, and the Chiefs also have beaten San Diego and San Francisco, as the 'Hawks have. So these teams certainly seem evenly matched, and the Qwest Field crowd could be the deciding factor.
If the Seahawks can win this weekend, they should be able to get to 7-5, because they host the ridiculously bad Carolina Panthers in Week 13.
In Week 14, the 'Hawks go to San Francisco, where Matt Hasselbeck has traditionally won—when he has played. He didn’t play there in 2006 or 2008 because of injuries, and last year, he suffered broken ribs and missed the second half of what turned into a loss. But he led the 'Hawks to wins there in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007, so if he stays in the game, the 'Hawks should win.
In Week 15, the 'Hawks host the best team in the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons. Chalk it as a loss—unless the 'Hawks put together the perfect game in all three phases.
Then they go to Tampa Bay to face the surprising Bucs. This will be the fifth straight year the fellow 1976 expansion teams have played each other. The 'Hawks won in Tampa in the 2006 season finale and opened with a home win against Tampa in 2007. Then they lost in Tampa in 2008 and were upset by the Bucs at Qwest last season as Hasselbeck threw four interceptions. Unlike last season’s meeting, this one might actually have some cachet and some meaning.
The 'Hawks finish the season at home against St. Louis in a game that might not matter or might decide the winner of the NFC Worst. You’d have to give this one to the Seahawks.
So, if the 'Hawks beat the Chiefs this week, they will probably win four of the final six to finish 9-7 and win the division. But even 8-8 should be good enough, provided they win their two division games, because the Rams have a tough finish and Arizona and San Francisco are two games behind the 'Hawks.
The Rams have a tough road, with four of their final six away from St. Louis. That includes games at Denver, Arizona and New Orleans the next three weeks. They probably will be lucky to win three more games, which would put them at 7-9. They would have to get very hot for it to even come down to the final game in Seattle.
Arizona and San Francisco are both 3-7, and they play each other twice down the stretch. Arizona has the better chance to catch Seattle, with four of the final six at home and not a single winning team on their slate. But they also were swept by the Seahawks and would need to finish with a better overall record. That means they would almost have to run the table, and they don’t have the quarterback to do it.
The 49ers still have four division games left, plus hopeless games at Green Bay and San Diego. Even if they win all four division games, they’re not likely to win the division unless they also can knock off the Packers or Chargers.
Add it all up, and, even with a 3-3 finish, the 'Hawks look like locks to win the division.