You’re excited to see that the Seattle Seahawks have qualified for the playoffs, but you still don’t know the difference between a first down and a touchdown.
You want to be able to talk about the ‘Hawks with your family for the holidays, but don’t want to look silly.
Here's a look at the Seahawks’ potential playoff opponents ... so you can look like you’ve been following them from day one.
First, you should know the current NFC playoff seedings.
1. Atlanta Falcons (NFC South Champion)
2. Green Bay Packers (NFC North Champion)
3. San Francisco 49ers (Leading NFC West)
4. Washington Redskins (Leading NFC East)
5. Seattle Seahawks (clinched playoff berth)
6. Minnesota Vikings (leading for final playoff berth)
Seattle has clinched a wild card berth. If the team doesn’t advance any farther, they will play on the road the weekend of Jan. 5-6. Their potential opponents include the Washington Redskins or Dallas Cowboys (whoever wins the NFC East this Sunday), the NFC North champion Green Bay Packers (potential payback game from that Monday Night fiasco you’ve heard so much about), or even the same San Francisco 49ers team the Seahawks just dismantled (in this case, the results of next Sunday's games would make the Niners the NFC West champions).
If the Seahawks win this Sunday against St. Louis and the 49ers somehow manage to lose to Arizona (not likely), then the Seahawks would be the NFC West Champions.
If that happens, and the Green Bay Packers don’t lose to Minnesota on Sunday, then the Seahawks would host a wild card game Jan. 5 or 6. Possible opponents could include San Francisco, Minnesota, Washington, Chicago, or the New York Giants. The 49ers are the only one of those teams that has clinched at least a wild card berth.
If the Packers lose to Minnesota and the Seahawks win the NFC West, then Seattle could vault all the way up to the No. 2 seed. That would mean that they would get a first week playoff bye, with their first post-season game falling on the weekend of Jan. 12-13. Their opponent would be the highest remaining seed from the wild card round.
No matter what happens, Seattle cannot face Atlanta in the first week of the playoffs. The Falcons have clinched home field advantage, which means they will get that first week off and will host the lowest remaining seed from the wild card round.
Will the Seahawks get any home games?
If they remain a wild card, then it’s doubtful. The only way we'll see a post-season game in Seattle is if the Seahawks are the No. 5 seed. Even then, the Seahawks and the other wild card would have to beat all their opponents in the first two weeks of the playoffs. In that case, the Seahawks would get to play the NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field. If Seattle is the No. 6 seed (the lowest possible), then there is no scenario that allows them to play a home game.
If the Seahawks win the NFC West, they are guaranteed at least one home game. Again, if they want to play the NFC title game at CenturyLink, they have to be the highest remaining seed after the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Now, you’re ready to go. Memorize this and you'll look like you’ve been a Seahawks fan for 35 years. But if someone you know comes up to you and says Rick Mirer or Dan McGwire was a better Seahawks quarterback than Russell Wilson, change the subject.