Seahawks almost literally must beat the Rams for their playoff chances
When you’re 4-4, every game is a must win. But today’s Rams game is possibly the season’s biggest for the Seahawks. Until the next one, anyway.
You know it isn’t a good thing when you’re talking about must win games halfway through the season. I mean, we were just talking about this last week, right? As Lee wrote, “a win over Los Angeles would be huge”. A Seahawks win over Los Angeles would be even bigger today. Unfortunately, the Rams are certainly better than the Chargers.
As the always awesome Bob Condotta reports in The Seattle Times, the Seahawks playoff chances after the loss to the Chargers plummeted from 55 percent to just 36 percent now. Actually, the calculation is from the great site for statistics and analysis FiveThirtyEight.com. Heading into a contest against an 8-1 team with your playoff chances already foundering is not a good thing.
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Here’s an even more interesting look at the Seahawks chances. You get to simulate every game, and see how Seattle’s playoff destiny changes. The link is to The New York Times NFL Playoff calculator, The Upshot. You select an outcome, the site runs thousands of simulations, and you get a prediction. Pretty cool, right? You can select every possible outcome, including a very unlikely run of eight straight ties.
After 27,206 simulations, their computer predicts a win over the Rams would move Seattle from their current playoff chances of 35 percent to 53 percent. Remember this is a different site, so it doesn’t exactly match the call from fivethirtyeight.com. It also shows the odds for several very specific scenarios, such as the Seahawks winning the division.A win over Los Angeles today would bump the Hawks all the up to a two percent chance to win the division outright. That, my friends, is a very deep hole Seattle has created.
Seahawks cannot afford a loss today
A loss today would be a very bad thing. Again from The Upshot on newyorktimes.com, Seattle’s chance of making the playoffs drops all the way to 24 percent if they lose to the Rams. This ties in with predictions I’ve seen elsewhere, either 24 or 25 percent. The Seahawks definitely do not want to be there, especially with a short turnaround to a Thursday night matchup with Green Bay.
The Packers are in a fight for the playoffs too, and no one wants to play Aaron Rodgers in that situation. A loss today, then a loss Thursday would come pretty close to eliminating Seattle. Not mathematically, but an eleven percent playoff chance is dismal. And really, if you’re 4-6, odds are you just aren’t a playoff caliber team anyway.
By the way, if the Seahawks did somehow wind up with a 4-4-8 record, they’d still have a four percent chance to make the playoffs. Say it with me, gang; so you’re saying there’s a chance. Alright, back to reality. A win today and a victory over the Packers would put Seattle at 6-4. Their playoff chances would climb to 59 percent.
Just for context, if the Rams lose to the Seahawks today their playoff chances are still 98 percent. Not saying they won’t be motivated. No team wants to lose two in a row, because suddenly you’re on a skid. The Rams surely don’t want to lose to a division rival, either. And of course there’s that whole thing with D.J. Fluker. Still, Los Angeles will face the Kansas City Chiefs next week, so there’s a chance their focus could be split. About the same chance the Seahawks have of making the playoffs if they lose today.