In focus: Seahawks playoff picture

What helped Seattle and what hurt the Seahawks in Week 13 with your rooting guide to Monday night's game.

Seattle is 7-5, which currently ranks eighth in the NFC. This is important because the top seven teams will make the playoffs.

What helped the Seahawks

Pittsburgh 19, Atlanta 16 — The Falcons fell to 5-8, which 2.5 games behind the Seahawks. It’s worth remembering Atlanta’s victory in Seattle earlier this season gives the Falcons a tiebreaker edge should the two teams wind up with the same record. It’s in Seattle’s best interest that the runner-up in the NFC South NOT come anywhere near to a sniff of a wild-card berth. Right now, the Falcons are second in that specific division.

Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending foot injury in San Francisco’s victory over Miami. Garoppolo will undergo surgery and is assumed to be out for the year, meaning the 49ers have lost their top two quarterbacks over the course of the season and the NFC West became eminently more winnable for Seattle.

Baltimore 10, Denver 9 — Aside from the satisfaction of schadenfreude, the Seahawks have the Broncos’ first two draft picks in next year’s draft. The Broncos are 3-9, tied with the Rams for the third-worst record in the league. Only the Texans and Bears have more losses.

What hurt the Seahawks

Miami 33, San Francisco 17 — The 49ers prevailed despite losing Garoppolo. The 49ers have a one-game lead over the Seahawks, whom they’ve already beaten once this season. The 49ers host the Bucs next week then play at Seattle in Week 15.

Seattle 27, L.A. Rams 23 — Sounds weird to say the Seahawks hurt themselves with a win, right? But it’s true. Had the Seahawks lost to the Rams, the Broncos would be alone with the third-worst record in the league and Seattle would thereby be in position to have the third pick in the first round, and the third pick in the second round (No. 35 overall).

The headscratcher

Washington 20, N.Y. Giants 20 — Neither team won, which may wind up helping the Seahawks as they’re looking up at both in the wild-card standings. However, had the Giants won, the Commies would be 7-6 and in eighth-place in the NFC, half a game behind the Seahawks. They would also be 4-5 in the conference, which would give Seattle the edge in head-to-head tiebreaker.

We’ll see how this plays out, but if you’re rooting for the Seahawks to make the playoffs, you’re rooting against the Giants and the Commies the rest of the way.

Tonight: New Orleans (4-8) at Tampa Bay Bucs (5-6)

You root for the Bucs. They win, they have a 1.5 lead in the division and the Saints would be 3.5 games behind the Seahawks. The doomsday scenario for Seattle would be to wind up in a head-to-head tie with Atlanta and/or New Orleans for a wild-card berth. Best way for that to happen is for Tampa Bay to win out, thereby winning the division and have the Falcons and Saints suffer untold horrors down the stretch.

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