BY Steve Rudman 02:58PM 11/11/2013

All Seahawks Need To Do Now Is Hold Serve

If the playoffs started today, the Seahawks (9-1) would hold the No. 1 seed in the NFC and enjoy home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

The Seahawks need only to hold serve at home in order to match the best record in franchise history, 13-3, achieved by the 2005 team that went to the Super Bowl. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

By defeating Atlanta 33-10 Sunday in the Georgia Dome, the Seahawks avenged (as we heard ad nauseam)  a 30-28 loss to the Falcons in their NFC Divisional playoff game. What we didn’t hear was that only one other NFL team in the past 20 years recorded a road win by a margin as large as Sunday’s (23 points) against a team that ousted it from the previous season’s playoffs. Guess what?

That other team was the Seahawks. Following the 2010 regular season, Pete Carroll’s first, they lost to the Chicago Bears 35-24 in the NFC Divisional round, and then came back a year later at Soldier Field and knocked off the Bears 38-14, a 24-point swing.

Seattle’s victory Sunday, a record-tying fifth on the road (also 1984 and 2005), represents a remarkable turnaround for the Seahawks away from CenturyLink Field, even if it did come at the expense of a 2-7 Atlanta team struggling with injuries.

Since opening the 2012 season with five road losses in six attempts, the Seahawks have played 10 road games, including last year’s playoffs. The Seahawks are 8-2, the losses coming to Atlanta in the playoffs and to Indianapolis in Week 5.

At 9-1 and with a 2½-game lead in the NFC West over San Francisco after the 49ers’ 10-9 loss to Carolina Sunday at Candlestick, the Seahawks would own the No. 1 seed in the NFC if the playoffs started today, meaning home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. These are the current NFC seeds:

Seeds Team Record Standing Home Road Division Conf.
1 Seahawks 9-1 1st, NFC West 4-0 5-1 3-0 6-0
2 Saints 7-2 1st, NFC South 5-0 2-2 2-0 5-0
3 Lions 6-3 1st, NFC North 3-1 3-2 3-1 5-2
4 Cowboys 5-5 1st, NFC East 4-1 1-4 3-0 5-2
5 Panthers 6-3 2nd, NFC South 3-1 3-2 2-0 6-2
6 49ers 6-3 2nd, NFC West 3-2 3-1 2-1 3-2

To the notion that the Seahawks reached 9-1 at the expense of a battered Atlanta team, they did so without a full complement of their own weapons. Seattle played without three offensive line starters (T Russell Okung, T Breno Giacomini, C Max Unger) as well as WR Sidney Rice (out for the year). During Sunday’s game, the Seahawks lost starting corner Brandon Browner early with a strained groin and have yet to unleash WR Percy Harvin.

Of course, the playoffs don’t start today, but having played six on the road, the Seahawks have four more at home, where they have not been defeated since drafting Russell Wilson. The four home opponents, Minnesota (2-7), New Orleans (7-2), Arizona (5-4) and St. Louis (4-6) are a combined 18-19, and Seattle has already defeated the Cardinals and Rams.

The Seahawks have to travel twice more, to San Francisco (Dec. 8) and to the New York Giants (Dec. 15), but have an edge over the 49ers, who have four road games remaining at New Orleans (7-2), Washington (3-6), Tampa Bay (0-8) and Arizona (5-4), clubs with a combined record of 15-20.

If the Seahawks win their remaining home games and lose both on the road, they would finish 13-3. San Francisco would need a seven-game, season-ending winning streak to match that.

In the unlikely event of such a run, the first tiebreaker would be wins within the division. Seattle is 3-0 in the NFC West with three division games remaining. San Francisco is 2-1, also with three looming, including the big one vs. the Seahawks Dec. 8 at Candlestick Park.

While it’s too soon to predict how it all will play out, the Seahawks can probably afford three losses, providing one isn’t to San Francisco, and still win the division. Three Seattle wins, over the right combination of opponents, New Orleans Dec. 2, San Francisco Dec. 8, and either Arizona Dec. 22 or St. Louis Dec. 29, would also net the Seahawks a division title and home-field advantage.

Seattle’s games against the Saints and 49ers are the two biggest remaining, given their combined record of 13-5 and current playoff seeds, No. 2 and No. 6, respectively. But with St. Louis having crushed the Colts Sunday and taken Seattle to the last play two weeks ago, the regular-season finale between the Rams and Seahawks at CenturyLink figures to have some real juice.

This is how it sets up for current NFC seeds through Week 10:

#1 Sea #2 NO #3 Det #4 Dal #5 Car #6 SF
Record 9-1 7-2 6-3 5-5 6-3 6-3
Games Remaining 6 7 7 6 7 7
Home Games 4 3 4 3 4 3
Road Games 2 4 3 3 3 4
Division Games 3 4 2 3 4 3
Vs. Top-6 Seed 2 4 0 0 1 2
Opponents’ Record 27-28 33-23 22-41 24-31 25-27 30-34

In terms of remaining opponents, Detroit has the easiest schedule, facing seven foes with a combined record of 22-41. The Lions also do not have to face any of the current NFC seeds. While Seattle’s upcoming opponents are 27-28, only two games are away from home, the easiest slate among current NFC seeds in that respect.

New Orleans has the toughest slate, facing seven with a combined mark of 33-23, including four of the current NFC seeds — vs. San Francisco, at Seattle, and Carolina twice.

Speaking of Carolina, the Seahawks caught a break by opening the season against the Panthers on the road and squeezing out a 12-7 win. After starting their season 1-3, the Panthers have put together a five-game winning streak. Add that to their upset of the 49ers Sunday, and Seattle’s Week 1 win looks a lot bigger now than it did then.


YourThoughts

  • jafabian

    Only the Chiefs have a better record than the Hawks and they’ve had an even easier schedule than them. Is it me or does this almost seem like a down year in terms of quality teams in the NFL? Most of last years teams would not qualify for the playoffs if they were held today and the traditional powers don’t seem to be at their usual level of play. There isn’t a team in the league that makes me think they’d give the Hawks problems.

    I’m not used to that. :D

    • 3brettb3

      No, it’s just that the Seahawks are better than they’ve ever been, so the rest of the league looks weaker by comparison.

      • jafabian

        True dat. Can’t wait to get my Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl champs T-shirt!

    • Paul Maggard

      I have noticed there is a lot of teams that are bad this year that usually are good teams and we are better then we used to be and getting better each game bronco’s Peyton is soon to be out of the game do to a high ankle sprain he will suffer in the next game and as for KC they are undefeated yes but the teams they have played have given them fits and those teams were shit teams so if they play against a good team not so sure they will be undefeated but doesn’t matter cause we just gonna keep on winning our games one game at a time this week Vikings and then we will see what happens down the stretch with the other teams

  • Joe Fan

    Just win this Sunday…

    • Mike Howard

      Trap game.

      • Paul Maggard

        ya trap game playing against his former team Percy harvin is gonna shine

  • Bryan

    This is loser thinking, and I do not support it. Look for the Saints to win out or max out at one loss. No room for error or “serve holding” mentality.

    • LCB

      If the Saints win out then they are the best NFC team,if they only lose one they still may be the best. Let’s make sure we lock up home field advantage. Indoor Saints look unstoppable

      • Paul Maggard

        ya they looked real good against the cow girls of course not many look bad against the cow girls as for him being unstoppable I wish we were playing there instead of home just so we could shut everyone up about how great they are at home cause we would dominate them at their house just as we will dominate them at our house HAWKS are the best in the league bar none

  • Paul Maggard

    all we gotta do is keep on winning one game at a time and we got this and we will be playing twice in NJ