Three things to know about the Seahawks' playoff scenarios

The Seahawks are headed back to the playoffs for the fourth straight year. Below are three questions about their path to a potential Super Bowl.

1. What seed will they be?

The Arizona Cardinals clinched the NFC West with their win over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night. That means the Seahawks are locked into either the No. 5 or No. 6 seed.

Right now, they have the same record (9-5) as the Minnesota Vikings, but Seattle owns the tiebreak on account of the head-to-head matchup. There are multiple scenarios where the Seahawks could drop down to the No. 6 seed. The most straightforward would be Seattle going 1-1 and the Vikings going 2-0. In this scenario, the Green Bay Packers would get the fifth seed. Minnesota would win the NFC North because it has a better division record than the Packers. Green Bay would have the tiebreak over the Seahawks because of the head-to-head matchup earlier this season.

Another scenario is Seattle going 0-2 and the Vikings going 1-1. In this case, Minnesota would likely steal the fifth seed.

There is one scenario where the Seahawks could win out and still drop to the sixth seed:

  • The Vikings go 2-0.

  • The Packers go 1-1.

The Vikings and Packers play in Week 17. If Minnesota wins and finishes with the same record as Green Bay, the Vikings get the tiebreak because of a better division record. Green Bay would fall to the wild card, but own the tiebreak against the Seahawks because of its head-to-head win.

The Vikings play the New York Giants in Week 16.

If the Seahawks go 0-2, the Atlanta Falcons (7-7) would still have a chance at the No. 5 seed.

2. Who are the Seahawks' most likely first-round opponents?

If the Seahawks hold on to the fifth seed, they will travel east to take on either Washington, the Eagles or the Giants. The Eagles host Washington on Saturday. If the Eagles win, the NFC East won't be decided until Week 17. If Washington wins, it will clinch the division.

If the Seahawks fall to the No. 6 seed, they'll have to travel to Green Bay or Minnesota in the first round.

3. What else is there to know?

The Seahawks can lock up the fifth seed with a win against the Rams and a Vikings loss to the Giants. If those two things happen and Washington wins, the first-round matchup will be set.

The only way the Seahawks would host a playoff game is if they earned the No. 5 seed, won two games on the road in the playoffs, and the sixth seed did the same. Then the Seahawks would host the sixth seed in the NFC title game. In other words, that's unlikely, and Sunday will probably be the last home game of the season.

If the Cardinals and Carolina Panthers both win this weekend, Arizona would be locked in to the No. 2 seed, which would force Bruce Arians to make a decision on who to play in the Week 17 finale against the Seahawks.