First off, the ESPN NFL Playoff Machine is your friend. Use it.
Weirdly, a lot of articles I'm reading online this week state that Seattle's week 16 game at Tampa (which is now at 4:15 East/1:15 West) is a "must win" for the Seahawks. Um... Probably not. Let me break down the various moving parts in the NFC West race:
-Arizona is still mathematically alive according to the NFL, but according to Danny O'Neil, their playoff chances hinge on Seattle and STL TYING their week 17 game.
-Here's the only way the Seahawks get eliminated before week 17: Seattle LOSES next two games AND either the Rams or 49ers WIN their next 2 games. Thankfully that kind of 4-game parlay is unlikely.
-Let's assume Seahawks LOSE next two, fall to 6-9. If STL beats KC and SF in next two games, they'd be 8-7, and Seattle couldn't tie them with a win in week 17 (remember- Seattle wins tiebreaker with STL based on divisional record). On the Niners tip, if SF beats SD, STL in next two games, they'd be 7-8. Seattle wouldn't be able to catch Niners, because SF would top Seattle on "common games" tiebreaker OR divisional record tiebreaker. If SF LOSES next two games, they'd be 5-9 and eliminated from playoff contention.
-What if Seattle loses next two, but SF wins ONCE to tie us at 6-9? Not only would Seattle need to beat STL at Qwest, but they'd also have to pray John Skelton and the Cardinals can pull an upset over Niners at Candlestick (yipes).
-If the Seahawks WIN EITHER of next two games (ATL, @TB), they CANNOT be eliminated before week 17; also, Arizona would be out, and SF would probably have to WIN OUT to take the division.
The bottom line? Seattle can at least ensure a meaningful week 17 game against the Rams by winning either of their next two games- If they drop both, they need to hope the Chargers beat the Niners Thursday, and that the Rams lose to KC but beat 49ers in week 16. If those plausible dominoes fall, Seahawks v Rams will decide the NFC West, even if Seattle comes in at 6-9.
Any questions? Corrections?