The Seattle Seahawks playoff scenarios for Week 17 look much harder than we would’ve expected three weeks ago. However, three straight losses and five in their last six have left them closer to being eliminated from postseason contention than to being involved come Wild Card Weekend. Heading into Week 17, let’s take a look at the Seahawks’ playoff chances and scenarios with two weeks remaining in the 2022 NFL schedule.
4:00 PM ET Update
The Giants defeated the Colts.
The Commanders lost to the Browns.
The Saints defeated the Eagles.
The Lions defeated the Bears.
The Buccaneers defeated the Panthers.
Seahawks Playoff Scenarios to Watch for in Week 17
At one point, the Seahawks were sitting pretty in the NFL standings, but now they are eighth in the NFC playoff picture at 7-8. Realistically, the Seahawks have to win both of their remaining games against the New York Jets and Los Angeles Rams while also hoping other results fall their way in the next two weeks.
What Are the Playoff Scenarios If Seattle Wins Out?
If the Seahawks win, they will climb to 9-8. However, the tie between the Washington Commanders and the New York Giants means that the Seahawks have to finish with more in the win column and not rely on any NFL playoff tiebreakers.
With the Commanders entering the week at 7-7-1 and the Giants at 8-6-1, the Seahawks need Washington to lose at least one game and the Giants to lose out to finish above either of them.
If the Seahawks win their next two games, the Commanders lose at least one, and the Giants lose both of their remaining games, Seattle is in the playoffs regardless of other results. Even if the Seahawks win both games, if the Giants win one and the Commanders win both, Seattle is eliminated.
Where things get interesting is if the Seahawks win out, and then only one of the Giants or Commanders does what they need to do. Taking the scenario where the Giants make the playoffs, but the Commanders lose one game as an example, the Seahawks are looking elsewhere for help. The other NFC teams that can still make the playoffs in that scenario are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Green Bay Packers.
The NFC South situation does not affect the Seahawks. If Seattle wins out, none of the teams from the NFC South can earn a Wild Card spot. That leaves the Packers, who would need to lose one of their next two games for the Seahawks to make it in this scenario. If the Packers also win out, they would have the tiebreaker over the Seahawks for the final Wild Card spot.
To summarize all that, the Seahawks need two of the following to happen to make the playoffs if they win both games:
- The Giants lost both of their remaining games.
- The Commanders failed to win one of their remaining games. If the Commanders tie one game and win the other, then the Lions need to fail to win one of their games.
- The Packers failed to win one of their remaining games.
Can the Seahawks Make the Playoffs By Winning Just 1 of 2 Games?
There is a path for the Seahawks to make the playoffs if they only win one of the next two games. However, further complicating the situation is that things adjust slightly depending on whether they beat the Jets or the Rams. Let’s break down the scenarios depending on which game Seattle wins.
If the Seahawks beat the Jets and lose to the Rams, then they would need the following to happen:
- The Commanders lost both their remaining games
- The Lions lose one of their remaining games or tie both games
- The Packers lose in Week 18 or tie both games
- The Saints lose or tie one of their remaining games
- The Buccaneers and Panthers tie, the Buccaneers lose both games, or the Panthers lose one of their remaining games.
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If the Seahawks lose to the Jets and beat the Rams, then things get even more complicated, especially when considering the impact of ties. The Seahawks would need a combination of the following to happen:
- The Commanders failed to win both of their remaining two games
- The Lions and Packers lost at least one of their remaining two games
- The Saints lost one of their remaining games
- The Panthers or Saints fail to win one of their remaining two games, or the Buccaneers lose both of their remaining games.
Can the Seahawks Be Eliminated from Playoff Contention in Week 17?
There are a variety of simpler scenarios that can see Seattle eliminated from playoff contention in Week 17. First and foremost, the Seahawks can avoid elimination this week by winning. If they fail to win, that is when the scenarios come into play. Here are the five elimination scenarios for the Seahawks this week:
- The Seahawks lose, and the Commanders win
- The Seahawks lose, the Lions win, and the Packers win or tie
- The Seahawks lose, the Lions tie, and the Packers win
- The Seahawks tie, the Giants win or tie, the Commanders win, the Lions win, and the Packers win or tie
- The Seahawks tie, the Giants win or tie, the Commanders win, the Lions tie, and the Packers win
What Are the Seahawks’ Playoff Chances?
Heading into Sunday, the Seahawks’ playoff chances are projected at 27% by FiveThirtyEight. However, by the time the Seahawks and Jets kick off, that number will look very different. With the Commanders, Giants, Panthers, Buccaneers, Saints, and Lions all playing in the 1 pm window, things will shift considerably as scenarios begin to play out.
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What we know is that the Seahawks cannot clinch a playoff spot this week. We also know that if they win, they cannot be eliminated this week. In a vacuum, if the Seahawks win this week, their playoff chances increase to 43%. Meanwhile, if they lose, their playoff chances dip to 5%. That emphasizes how many other elements the Seahawks need to play out (regardless of whether they win or lose this week) if they are to make it to the postseason.