Seattle Seahawks Playoff Scenarios and Chances: Is Pete Carroll’s Team Losing Its Grip on a Wild Card Berth?

The Seahawks would be in the playoffs if it started today, but how secure is that spot in the dance? Let's examine Seattle's various playoff scenarios.

No one on the Seattle Seahawks’ roster could enjoy their Thanksgiving last week after Pete Carroll’s team suffered a 31-13 defeat at the hands of the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers. Once viewed as a near-playoff lock, the Seahawks will now have to fight their way into the postseason.

Seahawks’ Playoff Chances Entering Week 13

Heading into their Thursday night contest against the Dallas Cowboys, the Seahawks only have a 36% chance of making the playoffs, per the NY Times’ projection model — even though they’re currently slotted as the NFC’s No. 6 seed.

A few data points go into that figure for Seattle. First, look at the sheer number of NFC teams still vying for Wild Card berths. While Dallas seemingly has the fifth seed sewn up, the final two spots in the dance are still up for grabs.

The Minnesota Vikings looked like a favorite for one of those entries, but two straight losses have moved them to 6-6. Their NFC North foes, the Green Bay Packers, are moving in the other direction, as back-to-back victories have pushed them into the playoff conversation.

The same goes for the Los Angeles Rams, who matched the Packers’ 5-6 record by taking down the Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals over recent weeks. And there are the three teams that will fail to win the mediocre NFC South, one of which could theoretically sneak into the postseason via a Wild Card seed.

MORE: Pro Football Network’s Week 13 NFL Power Rankings

Seattle’s upcoming slate of opponents also significantly affects its playoff chances. The Seahawks had one of the 10 easiest schedules in the NFL through the first 12 weeks of the 2023 season.

But after playing San Francisco, Seattle will have to face the Cowboys, the 49ers again, and the Philadelphia Eagles over the next three weeks. They’ll have the league’s sixth-hardest schedule to close the season, per DVOA.

Here’s how losing those games could affect the Seahawk’s postseason odds in a vacuum (i.e., without considering the results of other matchups around the NFL), per NYT:

  • Week 13 at DAL: 27%
  • Week 14 at SF: 21%
  • Week 15 vs. PHI: 13%

Seattle won’t be favored in any of those contests, and the Seahawks may lose all three. Even if the Seahawks won their final three games to finish 9-8, they’d only have a 60% chance to enter the tournament.

On the other hand, if Seattle can find a way to win two of its next three games against elite competition, its playoff chances should rise above 80%. Going 1-2 over the next three will keep the Seahawks’ odds above 40% but not much higher.

Can the Seahawks Still Win the NFC West?

If Seattle wants to make the postseason this year, it will most assuredly have to focus on a Wild Card slot.

San Francisco’s Thanksgiving Day win all but locked up the NFC West, as NYT gives Brock Purdy and Co. a 99% chance of winning the division. The Rams (1%) actually have a better chance of grabbing the NFC West title than the Seahawks (<1%).

Even if Seattle wins out and finishes 12-5, the club would still have just a 37% chance of taking first place in the division. San Francisco’s two-game lead (plus a tiebreaker) looks to be too much to overcome.

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more! 

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Join the Conversation!

Related Articles