Let's just deal with it. That loss by the Seahawks Monday night to the Atlanta Falcons hurt.

A lot.

The good news is the Seahawks still are in the driver's seat in the NFC West, even though they are not in first place.

Rams 7-3

Seahawks 6-4

Cardinals 4-6

49ers 1-9

Here's where Seahawks fans can take heart. If they win out, the Seahawks will win the NFC West. Seattle already has a win over the Rams. The two teams play again Dec. 17 in Seattle, so a sweep would give the Seahawks the edge.

Now here's the bad news. If they can't sweep the final six, the Seahawks need some help in the wild card picture.

Eagles 9-1 (NFC East leader; Home Field Advantage)

Vikings 8-2 (NFC North leader; 1st Round Bye)

Saints 8-2 (NFC South leader)

Rams 7-3 (NFC West leader)

Panthers 7-3 (Wild Card; at Rams)

Falcons 6-4 (Wild Card; at Saints)

Lions 6-4

Seahawks 6-4

Packers 5-5

Cowboys 5-5

Redskins 4-6

Cardinals 4-6

Bucs 4-6

Bears 3-7

Giants 2-8

49ers 1-9

With Seattle three games back of the Eagles with six to play, home-field advantage is a longshot. And if Seattle loses to Philadelphia in two weeks, it's a lost cause.

That's the pessimistic version of this. But as you look at the standings above, here's the glass-half-full version:

The Lions have to play the Vikings this Thursday -- a team that is being talked about as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

The Panthers have to play the Vikings, Saints and Falcons in the final six weeks.

The Falcons have to play the Vikings, Panthers, Saints -- and the Saints again.

Oh, and the Rams? They have to face the Seahawks, Saints, and Eagles.

If the Seahawks can somehow figure out how to get over the hump -- which they almost did Monday night -- and win at least five of their final six games, they should be in the playoffs because logic dictates that others ahead of them will be picked off. Four wins will put them on the bubble. Going 3-3 will probably leave them sitting at home for the playoffs.

If Seattle manages to sweep their final six, just like they did in 2014 when they started 6-4, it's not unreasonable that they will win the NFC West and maybe, just maybe, get a first-round bye.

Six weeks to go