If I was a fan of any of the other 28 teams in the NFL, I would be outraged. I’d be particularly surly if I were a Saints, Packers, Bears or Bucs fan; even though they pretty much all control their destinies with 7-3 records, one of those teams will likely not make the playoffs while two others will have to start their playoff journeys on the road (and also while the NFC West champ will host a game in the first round). And I’d be fucking incensed if I were a Giants fan right now. Not only did they recently just come into Qwest and kick our fucking shit in, but now they’re 6-4 and will need to leap over two teams with better records to even MAKE the playoffs.
And all the while, here are the Seattle Seahawks. 5-5. One game up on the Rams. Staring down the barrel of a 4-seed in the playoffs and looking to host probably the Saints in January.
The only reason we’re in the position we’re in, by the way, is because the rest of the NFC West lost right along with us this weekend. The 49ers lost a home game they needed to win more than anything (shut out by Tampa) and are now 3-7. The Cardinals got their asses beat in Kansas City and are also 3-7. The Rams at home were simply no match for the talented Atlanta Falcons; the Rams are now 4-6.
All year, even in the face of their 0-5 start, I kept preaching, “Don’t overlook the 49ers; they’ve got a run in ’em.” In fact, right here I said:
San Francisco will be 5-5 by the time they hit their Monday Night Showdown in Arizona on Thanksgiving Weekend. Mark my words …
So close. I still don’t know how they lost to Carolina; even with David Carr, they should’ve had enough mustard to take that travesty down! Now, at 3-7, I honestly don’t see how they can get back in this thing. Obviously, they would have to beat the Seahawks at home in 2 weeks, but that would still leave them a game back, with road contests in Green Bay, San Diego, and St. Louis! There’s no way! The fork is in and Final Answer.
Arizona I put to bed last week, which leaves St. Louis. The Rams play 4 of their next 6 on the road, including @ Denver, @ New Orleans, and @ Seattle. Obviously, that week 17 game will be huge; much huger than we all anticipated coming into the season. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they lose to both the Broncos and Saints. They will probably win @ Arizona to put them at 5-8. After that, they host the Chiefs, and I don’t care what anyone says, the Chiefs are no pushovers. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say the Rams pull it out in the closing seconds. That leaves a home game vs. San Fran, putting them at 7-8 going into the last game of the season.
If the Seahawks still have Hasselbeck in week 17, then I think without question we win that game. But, putting health aside (because, let’s face it, if the Rams lose Sam Bradford, then their boat is just as rickety), with the players the Seahawks have left, it’s still looking like a much easier road to hoe.
4 of the last 6 at home. First up, Kansas City, and I’ve gotta say that if I give the Rams a win in this game, I’m damn sure giving the Seahawks a win. BUT, let’s say I don’t. As far as pick ’em games go, Kansas City @ Seattle (or Kansas City @ St. Louis) is about as pick ’em as they get. That still leaves a home game vs. Carolina, then a very winnable game @ San Francisco the following week. In this potential future world, we’re 7-6 (with the very real potential for 8-5; and the worst-case scenario of 6-7). Two losses later (vs. Atlanta and @ Tampa) would leave us at 7-8 (with best case 8-7 and worst case 6-9).
Trust me when I say this, if both the Rams and Seahawks are 7-8 going into the final game, you WILL see the Seahawks play another football game the following week.
Leaving an unhealthy Hasselbeck out of this, I couldn’t be more confident.
Let’s even take it a step further! Say the Seahawks lose that game to the 49ers and fall to 6-9 while the Rams are 7-8 heading into Week 17 (using that scenario I described above). Even THEN the Seahawks, if they beat the Rams, will have the tie-breaker over them thanks to divisional record (we would be 4-2 in the division while the Rams would be at best 3-3).
You know what killed the Rams this year? Losing that OT game to the 49ers two weeks ago.
Regardless, there are currently three teams with 7-3 records right now who are below us. We’re going to be hosting one of them in a playoff game. National pundits can talk all the shit that they want, but it’s still not going to change the fact that Qwest will be rockin’ once again come January.