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Originally published December 10, 2014 at 6:38 PM | Page modified December 10, 2014 at 9:32 PM

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How the Seahawks’ playoff picture could clear up this weekend

The Seahawks are the No. 5 seed, but there could be some change to the NFC playoff picture, starting Thursday night when the Arizona Cardinals play at the St. Louis Rams.

Seattle Times staff reporter


RENTON – Seattle’s playoff picture entering this weekend is pretty much the same as it was entering last weekend.

If the season ended today, the Seahawks would be the No. 5 seed in the NFC and headed to Atlanta to play the Falcons, who despite being 5-8 are atop the NFC South, and as such would get the No. 4 seed.

This weekend, though, could bring some change to the NFC playoff picture, potentially starting Thursday night when the Cardinals play the Rams in St. Louis.

The Cardinals remain atop the NFC West at 10-3, which also has them holding the No. 1 seed in the NFC thanks to a 7-2 conference record (Green Bay, also 10-3, is 6-3 in conference play).

Arizona, though, is a 4.5-point underdog against a surging St. Louis team that has won its last two games against Oakland and Washington by a combined 76-0. And an Arizona loss and a Seattle win over the slumping 49ers would mean that the Seahawks would be the top team in the NFC West by the end of Sunday.

That wouldn’t necessarily change the stakes on next Sunday’s game at Arizona, though. Seattle holds the tiebreaker on Arizona thanks to a 19-3 win over the Cardinals last month. But an Arizona win over Seattle next Sunday would put the Cardinals back on top and in control of the division (should the two teams end up tied at 11-5 and splitting their season series, though, Seattle would get the division based on a better division record).

Seattle is not only hoping to win the NFC West, though, but also get one of the top two seeds to get a bye on the first weekend — the top two of the four division winners get byes.

Seattle could get some help in that quest this weekend from the team it beat last weekend — the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles host the Dallas Cowboys, who beat the Seahawks in October and would hold a tiebreaker. But an Eagles win would give Philadelphia a one-game lead on the Cowboys and a sweep of the season series and a huge leg up on winning the NFC East. Seattle holds the tiebreaker on the Eagles thanks to the win in Philadelphia last Sunday.

So simply put, wins by the Rams on Thursday and Eagles and Seahawks this weekend would mean all Seattle would have to do is win its last two games to be assured at least the No. 2 spot in the NFC.

Seattle also holds the head-to-head tiebreaker on Green Bay. But Seattle needs the Packers to lose at least one more for that to matter. The Packers finish with games at Buffalo and Tampa Bay and then at home vs. Detroit.


• The Seahawks are expected to add defensive end David King to their 53-man roster, apparently to replace Demarcus Dobbs, who suffered a sprained ankle Sunday. King had been on Cincinnati’s practice squad. King, who played at Oklahoma, was a seventh-round pick of the Eagles in 2013 and has yet to play in an NFL game. He is listed at 6 feet 4, 300 pounds.

• Dobbs was one of four players who were listed as not practicing Wednesday. The others were center Max Unger (ankle/knee), tight end Cooper Helfet (ankle) and running back Marshawn Lynch (back). Lynch often takes Wednesday off as a rest day. Unger and Helfet are attempting to come back from injuries that have sidelined them the last few games (Unger has missed three, Helfet two). Cornerback Jeremy Lane, who has missed the last two games with a glute injury, practiced fully.

• The name of Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell figures to be mentioned as a possible candidate to fill the vacancy at Wisconsin. Bevell played quarterback for the Badgers from 1992-95, leading them to the Rose Bowl following the 1993 season. Bevell said he hadn’t heard of the departure of Gary Andersen to Oregon State when he met the media after practice Wednesday. Without speaking specifically about the Wisconsin job, he reiterated what he has said in the past, that he would like to be a head coach some day and would consider both NFL and college jobs. “I do feel like I want to be a head coach some day,’’ he said.

What if the playoffs started today?
The Seahawks would be a wild-card team and would face Atlanta.
Top 2 NFC teamsSeedW-L
Other NFC playoff teamsSeedW-L

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