So, how far back is Seattle in NFC West?

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The NFC West standings are tougher to calculate after the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers played to a 24-24 tie Sunday.

The 49ers lead the division at 6-2-1. The Seattle Seahawks are second at 6-4 (.600), followed by the Arizona Cardinals (4-5) and Rams (3-5-1).

That is the simple part. We can calculate winning percentages by counting ties as one-half victory. For the 49ers, that means dividing 6.5 victories by nine games played. The result is a .722 winning percentage.

2012 NFC West Standings

Great, you say, but how many games back in the standings are the Seattle Seahawks? This one is tougher because the teams have played a different number of games, and there's also a tie to consider.

Seattle is actually one game back in the standings, strange as that seems. This is not the best way to look at the standings. The teams would not be tied in the standings if the Seahawks won a game and the 49ers lost a game. But the difference does work out to one game between the teams if we follow the formula used to calculate such things.

We calculate the difference by subtracting defeats from victory totals for each team. We then subtract the difference for the trailing team from the difference for the leading team. We then divide that result by two.

The math looks like this for the 49ers and Seahawks:

  • 6.5 victories for the 49ers minus 2.5 defeats. That number equals four.

  • Six victories for the Seahawks minus four defeats. That number equals two.

  • Four minus two equals two.

  • Two divided by two equals one game back in the standings.

I reached out to ESPN Stats & Information for confirmation and was told, of course, that winning percentage would be the way to go. And it is the way to go. But the Stats & Info crew also confirmed the formula. So, if you're a Seahawks fan trying to agitate a 49ers fan -- follow along here as we deal purely in the hypothetical -- this formula is for you.