Updated: NFC West playoff scenarios

A few thoughts after the Seattle Seahawks improved to 7-7 with a 38-14 victory at the Chicago Bears in Week 15:

  • One or the other: Seattle or Arizona can earn a wild-card berth in the NFC playoffs if one of them finishes 9-7. No scenario would send both teams to the playoffs. They play one another in Week 17.

  • Help wanted: Neither the Seahawks nor Cardinals control whether they will make the playoffs. Both teams need help to reach the postseason. Atlanta appears likely to clinch one of two wild-card berths. Detroit has a good shot at securing the other one. Both teams will emerge from Week 15 with more victories than Seattle or Arizona.

  • Potential scenarios: ESPN's NFL Playoff Machine lets users see which teams would emerge with playoff berths based on various scenarios. This one has Seattle missing the playoffs at 9-7 and Arizona missing at 8-8. On this similar one, I gave Oakland a victory over Detroit, allowing the Seahawks to reach the postseason at 9-7. But if that scenario changes to include an Arizona victory over Seattle, the Cardinals would go to the playoffs at 9-7. Round and round we go.

More to come as the late games conclude.