Here's where the Seahawks stand in the NFC playoff race going into tonight's game against the St. Louis Rams- Feel free to check my reasoning against the NFL tie-breaking procedures and my math against the ESPN playoff machine...
First, the current standings of the NFC Wild Card division, with the remaining opponents for each team in parentheses.
5. Falcons 8-5 (JAX, @NO, TB)
6. Lions 8-5 (@OAK, SD, @GB)
7. Bears 7-6 (SEA, @GB, @MIN)
8. Giants 7-6 (DC, "@"NYJ, DAL)
9. Cowboys 7-6 (@TB, PHI, @NYG)
10. Cardinals 6-7 (CLE, @CIN, SEA)
11. Seahawks 5-7 (STL, @CHI, SF, @AZ)
Those standings make things look worse than they actually are- After Seattle wins tonight, they will pass Arizona... and either the Cowboys or Giants will win the NFC East. Then, Seattle wins over the Rams and Bears would push them past Chicago as well. So let's get down to it- What will get the Seahawks into the playoffs? Let's start with a few basic principles:
1. Everything I say from here on assumes that the Seahawks will win out. They can theoretically stay alive with one loss, but the probabilities really drop off the cliff in that case.
2. If the Seahawks finish 9-7, they'd have an 8-4 conference record (our 1-3 record against the AFC North sorta helps here). That is good enough to win (almost) every tie-breaker involving 3 or more teams.
3. The Seahawks would win one-on-one/head-to-head tiebreakers with the Lions, Giants, and Bears (assuming we beat them Dec. 18). Seattle LOSES one-on-one/head-to-head tiebreakers with the Cowboys and Falcons. In a specific 3-way tiebreaker with ONLY the Cowboys and Falcons, the Seahawks lose.
4. In ANY and ALL tiebreaking scenarios that involve the Seahawks AND Lions, the Seahawks win, and get in the playoffs. Why? We'd have a better conference record than the Lions, and if Detroit is involved it eliminates the possibility of Seattle getting knocked out due to head-to-head losses to Dallas and Atlanta.
5. Over in the NFC East, one team will win the division (and thus we won't have to worry about them), and the other will have AT LEAST 7 losses. The only thing we have to worry about here are the "head-to-head with Dallas" and "3-way-tie with Dallas and Atlanta" scenarios.
Distill all that down, and the SIMPLEST playoff scenario for the Seahawks is:
4 Seahawks wins + EXACTLY 2 Lions losses = Seattle makes the playoffs.
There are more complex scenarios involving lots of Atlanta and Dallas losses, but our most direct path to the playoffs is via Detroit.
A few brief words about Tim Tebow to conclude here...
First of all, thanks for beating the Bears, kid! Last week I said I'd "Tebow" if the Broncos won, and as the above pic shows I'm a man of my word.
Beyond that, I'll never be a Tebow fan unless he somehow ends up on the Seahawks. In that case, as long as he won games I could put up with his aggravating disciples, the endless hype, and his religious proselytizing. I'm a hell-bound, blasphemous unbeliever and a Seahawks fan- Why WOULD I root for a openly, deeply religious Broncos QB? I'd have to be lobotomized.
I will admit that I can see why his teammates would run through a wall for the guy- He does have those intangible leadership qualities. He is also great for the league right now... Every Broncos game is absolutely "Must-See TV" at this point (and I think NBC should have fought harder to flex Broncos v Patriots into prime time next week.. I would have been glued to that).
So yeah, I'll probably never be a fan of Tebow- and I still think what he's doing right now is ultimately unsustainable. But I'm riveted to this drama surrounding him just like everyone else.
What do you think, sirs?