The Seahawks got a big helping hand from the Dallas Cowboys Monday night. Even though Dallas had nothing to play for -- they already had home-field advantage in the NFC locked up -- they exploded for 21 unanswered points in the second half to beat Detroit Lions 42-21.
With one Sunday left to play in the regular season, it means Seattle is sitting in the No. 3 position for the NFC playoffs. They need to get to No. 2 to get a coveted bye week to go along with a home game, which means there's some work to do.
First, the Seahawks win in San Francisco (OK, Santa Clara) against the 49ers.
That would be the 2-13 San Francisco 49ers, who Seattle has beaten in six straight games.
Yes, the Seahawks are beat up and haven't been playing their most consistent football two of the last three weeks. But the 49ers are terrible. They just got their second win against the 4-11 Rams --- and had to do it on a touchdown and two-point conversion with :31 left. If the Seahawks can't beat this Niners team in a must-win game, then Seattle has bigger problems than we've seen.
Second, the Atlanta Falcons must lose to the New Orleans Saints. Atlanta is 10-5 and champions of the NFC South. The Saints are 7-8 and will be watching the playoffs on TV. If the Falcons win, they will be the No. 2 seed.
Now you might look at that -- a team with something to play for vs. a team going nowhere -- and think it's a slam dunk for Atlanta. It's not. The Falcons-Saints rivalry is as bitter as any in the NFL, they just don't get as much publicity. And since New Orleans head coach Sean Payton took over in 2006, the Saints have owned this series. New Orleans is 15-6 against Atlanta in that time.
In the NFL's scheduling wisdom, the Seahawks-49ers and Saints-Falcons games will be played at the same time - 1:25 p.m. -- so neither team will be able to rest their players. If you have a chance to watch both games, the Saints-Falcons should be highly entertaining. They boast the two top scoring offenses in the league, and are among the worst in scoring defense. Saints quarterback Drew Brees is 142 passing yards away from 5,000 for the season. It would be the fifth time he has done it. No other quarterback has done it more than once.
A loss by Seattle would drop the Seahawks to the No. 4 seed and a likely wild card matchup with the New York Giants.
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