BY SPNW Staff 01:37PM 12/23/2014

Playoff-bound Seahawks face these scenarios

The Seahawks need three home wins to reach the Super Bowl, but the various playoff scenarios entering Week 17 make for a more complicated picture.

Christine Michael breaks a short run against the Arizona Cardinals in Seattle’s 35-6 win Sunday. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

While the Seahawks (11-4) clinched a playoff berth when they routed the Arizona Cardinals 35-6 last week at University of Phoenix Stadium, they still have much at stake Sunday when they close out the regular season against the St. Louis Cardinals (6-9) at CenturyLink Field. On the line: the NFC West title, a first-round playoff bye, and the NFC’s No. 1 seed, which ensures home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

Nailing down home field, as the Seahawks did last year, is Seattle’s easiest path to a repeat appearance in the Super Bowl. The scenarios in play Sunday:

Seattle will clinch the NFC West title with:

  • (a) A victory over the Rams, OR
  • (b) A tie with the Rams PLUS an Arizona loss or tie with the 49ers, OR
  • (c) An Arizona loss at San Francisco

Seattle will receive a first-round bye with:

  • (a) A victory over the Rams, OR
  • (b) A tie with the Rams PLUS an Arizona loss or tie with the 49ers, PLUS a Dallas loss at Washington, OR
  • (c)  A tie with the Rams PLUS an Arizona loss or tie at San Francisco, PLUS a tie between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions

Seattle will clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with:

  • (a) A win over the Rams PLUS no tie in the Green Bay-Detroit game, OR
  • (b) A win over the Rams PLUS a Dallas loss or tie at Washington, OR
  • (c) A Seahawks tie PLUS an Arizona loss or tie at San Francisco PLUS a Green Bay-Detroit tie

So what happens if the Seahawks lose to the Rams? Well, it gets more complicated. The scenarios:

Seahawks and Cardinals lose and Green Bay-Detroit doesn’t end in a tie:

  • Seahawks win the NFC West on the basis of defeating Arizona twice, but will become the No. 3 seed and host a playoff game against the No. 6 seed, currently the Cardinals.

Seahawks lose and Arizona defeats San Francisco:

  • Seattle would finish second in the NFC West at 11-5 and qualify for the playoffs as a wild card. Seahawks would enter the postseason as the No. 5 seed and play the AFC South winner, Carolina or Atlanta, on the road.

Seahawks and Cowboys win and Green Bay-Detroit ends in a tie:

  • Seattle wins the NFC West, Dallas wins the NFC East and gets the No. 1 seed and home field advantage because the Cowboys knocked off the Seahawks 30-23 at CenturyLink Field Oct. 12.

To put it about as simply as possible, the Seahawks effectively need three consecutive home wins (Rams plus two playoff games) to reach Super Bowl XLVIV in Glendale, AZ.

The Seattle-St. Louis game will kick off at 1:25 p.m. Sunday on FOX.



  • 12th man

    It looks like the Hawks are in the best position of all the teams vying for home field advantage. Thanks for the breakdown.

  • jafabian

    Doesn’t matter what scenario the Hawks get. No team matches up with them. Maybe the Lions but I don’t see Stafford as having the kind of passing game that can trump the Hawks defense. After seeing how the Packers did against the Bills I don’t see them being any different than when the played the Hawks in the beginning of the season. No team in the AFC concerns me. The Hawks worst foe is themselves and the coaching staff has done an excellent job of having the players keep their focus.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    Well the Skins hate Dallas as much as the Rams hate Seattle so I know they are coveting the spoilers role every bit as much as St.L is….Go Washington. Go San Fran. But most of all lets do it Seattle.
    In the end i think all will come to order with the 3 way tie and our amazing team will secure home field. Just a month and change ago a bet in Vegas against that home field thing happening for Seattle probably would have brought you a good chunk of change. What a wonderful performance by the Defending champs in proving wrong the various scribes that were burying Seattle 5~6 weeks ago. We are officially in the play offs~this team wont settle for anything less than holding on to their trophy.Lets hope for mild weather in February. Go Hawks!

  • TGSG

    St. Louis Cardinals?

    • Warchild_70

      Alooong time ago in a galaxy far far away way in the river town of St. Louis in Missouri. This town had both the Baseball and Football Cardinals. They got a long well with the citizenry alas the evil,vile and unscrupulous owner spirited away our beloved Cardinal Football team to the arid desert town of Phoenix. The town mourned the loss however, the city of St. Lou made a deal with the left coast and brought their Rams team to the Gateway City ergo tit for tat! Merry Christmas, and GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!