Tough schedule ahead for the Seahawks

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The 19-3 victory Thursday night for the Seattle Seahawks against the San Francisco 49ers was crucial in many ways, but one key way is the fact that the Seahawks have the toughest finishing schedule in the NFL.

The Seahawks finish the season against teams with a combined record of 29-17, a .630 winning percentage. That’s easily the highest among the four teams competing for the two NFC wild-card spots.

The 49ers (7-5) are one game back of the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys and Seahawks, all at 8-4. San Francisco has the second-hardest remaining schedule among the playoff contenders in the NFC.

The Seahawks, however, still aren’t out of the picture for the NFC West title, even though they will need some help. The Arizona Cardinals are 9-2 entering Sunday’s game at the 4-7 Atlanta Falcons.

The Seahawks will play the Cardinals in Arizona on Dec. 21 and already beat them at Seattle last week. But Seattle still needs Arizona to lose to someone else, even if the Seahawks win in Arizona.

Here’s is the strength of schedule for the four NFC teams in wild-card contenders at the moment:

Seahawks (8-4) -- .630.

49ers (7-5) -- .556.

Dallas Cowboys (8-4) -- .522.

Detroit Lions (8-4) -- .422.

The remaining four opponents for Seattle are the Philadelphia Eagles (9-3), the 49ers (7-5), the Cardinals (9-2) and the St. Louis Rams (4-7).