NFL Playoff Picture: How the Seattle Seahawks Can Still Make the Playoffs

Tim KeeneyContributor IDecember 14, 2011

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 12:  Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with Sherman Smith, running back coach after a touch down against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field December 12, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Seattle won 30-13.  (Photo by Jay Drowns/Getty Images)
Jay Drowns/Getty Images

Last year, the Seattle Seahawks made some incredible noise in January by making the playoffs at 7-9 and then shocking the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

After starting this season 2-6, most people wrote off the 'Hawks, but are they on the verge of shocking everyone for the second year in a row? 

A trip to the playoffs as a wild-card team would certainly do that, and that's far from out of the question right now. 

The San Francisco 49ers already have the West wrapped up, so Seattle fans can forget about that, but let's take a look at the NFC wild-card picture.

Currently, the 8-5 Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons are the wild-card leaders. That's two games ahead of Seattle with just three games left, so the Seahawks don't have a ton of room for mistakes from here on out.

The remaining schedule isn't easy, but let's assume the 'Hawks win out. 

They have the Bears on the road, but Chicago looks fairly terrible right now. Caleb Hanie and Marion Barber are the offensive leaders, so it's safe to say this one will be low scoring. Basically, anything can happen.

Then Seattle gets the division leader, San Francisco. Again, not an easy opponent, but the 49ers are reeling and the game is at the Clink. Any game is winnable for Seattle there. 

The last game of the season would be at Arizona. This isn't a gimme by any means, and might even be Seattle's toughest remaining test.

But still, if Seattle pulls off the impossible, it'll finish at 9-7.

I think you can go ahead and slot Atlanta into the first wild-card spot as it is playing well right now and has two winnable home games left on the schedule. It'll probably lose at New Orleans, but that still puts the team at 10 wins.

Then you have Detroit.

The Lions are playing horrific football right now and still have to travel to Green Bay. That's one loss right there. They also play at Oakland and host San Diego.

If they lose one of those games, which they very easily could with how they've been playing, they'll fall to 9-7.

Because of division record, the Seahawks would win that tiebreaker. 

The only other contender is Dallas. Assuming the Cowboys lose on the road at New York in Week 17, the best they can finish is 9-7 as well. They would also lose a tiebreaker with the Seahawks. 

There you have it. If the Seahawks win out and then get a little (losing) help from the Lions, they make the playoffs.

It's not the easiest scenario in the world, but it's certainly a lot more plausible than everyone thought a couple weeks ago. And with the way Seattle is playing, I wouldn't bet against it.