“Feels good to be back in the winner’s column. Don’t count us out yet.” – DeeJay Dallas
While pretty much no one outside the Seattle locker room expects the team to make the playoffs, they kept their minuscule hopes alive when their offense suddenly reappeared in a typically dramatic win against the 49ers.
Their fourth win of the season – just their first in four games since Russell Wilson returned and their second in the last eight games – bumped their playoff chances to a still laughable 4% (per FiveThirtyEight).
Even though Wilson and Co. finally seemed to find a rhythm in the second quarter against the 49ers and hit 30 points for just the third time this season, it would be a huge surprise if they were able to keep it rolling for five more games.
They have winnable games at Houston (next week) and home against Chicago and Detroit, but they also have to go to Los Angeles to play the Rams and finish at Arizona. The Cardinals are likely to be playing for the bye in Week 18, too, so they will not take the Hawks lightly.
The Seahawks are two games out of the playoffs and have to leapfrog six teams to get in. They can’t afford a single loss as they aim for nine wins.
The Panthers and Falcons (both 5-7) will fade against tough schedules, so there are five teams to watch: the Eagles (6-7), 49ers (6-6), WFT (6-6), Saints (5-7) and Vikings (5-7). The Hawks have swept the Niners but lost to the latter three.
The Vikings are probably not a real threat; they just gave Detroit its first win and are not likely to win four of their final five to get to nine wins.
The Saints are a mess on offense, have lost five straight and have three road games left plus a home game against streaking Miami. So you can rule them out from hitting nine wins, too.
That narrows it down to three teams to beat, if the Hawks can put together an unlikely winning streak.
The key likely is for either WFT or Philly to sweep their two meetings in Weeks 15 and 17. If they split, that improves the likelihood that they both end up 9-8 and push out the Hawks.
Washington also plays Dallas twice, so losing both of those also could take care of them if they split with the Eagles. But WFT has won four straight, including beating Seattle, so that club is not an easy out.
Gardner Minshew, a beloved Coug, led the Eagles to a 33-18 win over the Jets this week. The Eagles have now won four of their past six, but they finish with the two vs. Washington, one against the Giants (who beat them in Week 12) and then finish at Dallas. They need to finish 2-2 for Seattle to have a shot at slipping past them.
The Seahawks’ chances obviously would go up with every win.
In Week 14, they would double to 8% if they beat Houston, Dallas beats WFT, Pittsburgh beats Minnesota and Cincinnati beats the 49ers.
In Week 15, they would jump to 22% if they beat the Rams and the Saints lose to the Bucs (we’re assuming the 49ers will beat Atlanta).
Following those results, the Hawks would have around a 40% chance after Week 16 if they beat Chicago, Tennessee beats the 49ers and Dallas beats WFT.
The Hawks then have Detroit in Week 17 and finish at Arizona. The Seahawks have put together six straight wins only twice in Russell Wilson’s career, and both came in their Super Bowl years.
In 2014, they won their last six to turn 6-4 into 12-4 on the way to the Super Bowl. Of course, this defense is nowhere near as good as that one, which allowed just 39 points in that six-game run. And this offense is not going to put together six straight good games.
But, like Dallas said, we can’t count them out yet.