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Week 12 Results Raise Seahawks' Playoff Hopes

The NFL's recent wild-card expansion, along with a clustered NFC, gives the Seahawks, somehow, hope for the postseason as they head to Landover, Maryland for a Monday night date with the Washington Football Team.

Beat Washington and the Seahawks are one game out of playoff contention.

Yes, Sunday brought some good Seahawks news. No, it wasn’t the fact that the 3-7 club did not play. Instead, the league-wide results of Week 12 offered hope that, no matter how bad the team has been in the 2021 season so far, making the playoffs still remains a possibility if Pete Carroll and company can hit a rhythm. If they win their upcoming game against the Washington Football Team, they will be just one win away from the third and final wild card spot in the NFC.

There were two big outcomes on Sunday afternoon that slightly improved the Seahawks slim playoff odds. First, the Panthers lost 33-10 to the Dolphins. Carolina started the season 3-0 and has now fallen to 5-7. Meanwhile, the Eagles lost 13-7 to the Giants, seeing their record dip to 5-7.  

NFC teams who are "in the hunt" for the three wild-card spots include the 5-7 Eagles, 4-6 Washington, 6-5 49ers, 5-6 Vikings, 5-6 Falcons, 5-6 Saints, and 5-7 Panthers. It's pretty simple: start winning some games and a team can establish itself firmly in the wild card conversation.

Sunday's Vikings-49ers clash was a "why can’t both teams lose?" scenario. On a positive note, the Vikings - who hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seahawks - lost. With the health of Dalvin Cook soon to be determined by an MRI scan after the running back left the game with what looked like a painful left pectoral injury, Minnesota may fall off. In regards to San Francisco, Seattle beat them in Week 4 and will aim for a season series sweep next Sunday afternoon at Lumen Field.

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Finally, the Rams lost to the Packers 36-28. This is an added bonus, dropping the division rivals to 7-4. While Seattle took losses to Green Bay and Los Angeles already, it at least gets a chance to correct things in a second encounter with the latter. That figures to be a different proposition given the recent struggles of once-leading MVP candidate Matt Stafford.

By adding an extra playoff spot to each conference, the NFL clearly wanted to add hope and interest to fans of struggling teams. Seattle, 3-7 for the first time since 2009, is evidence that this plan has paid off.

If the Seahawks can get Russell Wilson back to playing like the elite franchise quarterback that he is, a string of wins is possible - especially versus remaining opponents with a win percentage of just 0.421 and ranked by Pro Football Focus as the third-easiest remaining schedule in the league. But first, they must win in Washington to keep the fun, Jim Mora Sr. GIF-inducing, postseason ambitions alive.