Hawks’ playoff scenarios

Playoff scenarioUnlike last season, when the Seahawks were 9-1 at this point and pretty much assured of a playoff spot, they are fighting for their playoff lives as they enter a brutal six-week stretch to finish the season.

Some think the Hawks are in must-win mode the rest of the way, starting vs. Arizona, but the fact is they need just five wins in the final six games to make the playoffs. And they could make it with a 4-2 finish if other teams scuffle toward the end.

The Seahawks have a steep upward climb to catch Arizona for the NFC West title, trailing by three games and facing the toughest remaining slate in the NFL: Arizona (9-1), at San Francisco (6-4), at Philadelphia (7-3), vs. San Fran, at Arizona, vs. St. Louis (4-6).

Just to make the playoffs, the Hawks almost certainly will have to sweep either Arizona and/or San Francisco, plus win the finale at home vs. the Rams. Basically, they need to go at least 4-1 in their division games and perhaps win in Philly.

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Hawks have NFL’s worst penalty differential

Pete Carroll reacts to a call in the third quarter of Seattle's 28-26 loss to the St. Louis Rams  (Getty Images)Super Bowl XL goat Bill Leavy’s crew screwed the
Seahawks again, but it’s not like he and his zebras are the only ones who have been giving Seattle opponents a helping hand this season.

On Sunday against Kansas City, the Hawks were flagged eight times (for 50 yards) to the Chiefs’ three (for a whopping six yards). But the Chiefs obviously committed more fouls than that, and the NFL reportedly admitted it Thursday.

The biggest miss was a non-call on pass interference committed by Kansas City cornerback Sean Smith against Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin on fourth down from the 2-yard line late in the fourth quarter of the 24-20 loss. The Seahawks should have had a first down at the 1 — and they almost certainly would have scored a touchdown, which might have resulted in a 27-24 win.

“The interpretation was it definitely played a factor in (Baldwin’s) route and it should have been called,” Carroll told USA Today. “There’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to live with it. That’s just part of the game.”

Unfortunately, it has been a big part of Seattle’s games all season.

The Seahawks have the worst penalty differential in the league, called for 3.6 more penalties per game than their opponents. If that continues, it will easily be the largest margin in the NFL since at least 1990, per sportingcharts.com.

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Is Wilson’s slump over?

Russell Wilson throws a pass against Kansas City (Getty)Russell Wilson has been scuffling along for weeks, fighting a passing slump (we can only hope it is passing) that has been worse than
anything since early in his rookie season.

It’s almost as if he has been enduring the so-called sophomore slump in his junior season.

He played better in Kansas City, seeming to find a little rhythm with his receivers, but he still was unable to rally the Hawks — the third time in Seattle’s four losses he has not been able to win it at the end.

You would think the third-year quarterback would be past that kind of a skid, especially considering all of the trials and tribulations he overcame last season, when he played behind a battered and leaky offensive line against some of the league’s best defenses and still led the Hawks to a Super Bowl title.

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Hawks need 5 wins; can they get healthy, stop the run, get some calls?

It would have been nice for the Seahawks to win in Kansas City — if only for the Hawks to show they can beat a good team, something they haven’t done since they beat Denver in Week 3.

If the Hawks had been able to tackle better, convert a third or fourth down in the fourth quarter or perhaps get a call or two to go their way, they might have avoided falling three games behind streaking Arizona (9-1, with six straight wins) as the two prepare to meet for the first time this week in Seattle.

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Carroll admits Lynch’s contract is still an issue

Marshawn Lynch has his back worked on in Kansas CityPete Carroll finally admitted that there is a disconnect
between Marshawn Lynch and the
Seahawks’ front
office and that it stems from the running back’s offseason contract dispute.

NFL.com continues to reiterate that the team will part ways with Lynch after this season, and Carroll did little to dispel that notion Monday on 710 ESPN.

Asked about his relationship with Lynch, Carroll said, “We’re working through it” — which sure seems like a euphemism for “we tolerate each other, but it’s not going to work past this

While it certainly is possible that Lynch returns in 2015, all signs seem to point the other direction.

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CHAWK LINES -- Seahawks at Chiefs

The Chiefs have rebounded from an 0-2 start, winning five of the last six. The New York Times tells us how.

The Chiefs and Seahawks have a lot in common, starting with the ex-Packers in charge.

The NFL once again is trying to get the reticent Marshawn Lynch to speak, though who the hell knows why it matters?

Yet another report that the Seahawks will move on from Lynch after this season. This has been assumed for a long time.

ICYMI: Herman Sarkowsky — who co-founded both the Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers, now both owned by Paul Allen — died this month.

Tight end position has joined injury chaos

Zach MillerWhile the defense deals with the sudden loss of top-notch nose tackle Brandon Mebane for the rest of the season, the offense is making plans to go on without Zach Miller — perhaps forever.

With Luke Willson trying to rally from a sprained ankle and Cooper Helfet dealing with a bum knee (and Anthony McCoy on IR), the Hawks’ only two healthy tight ends right now are guys they just signed.

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