Seahawks Win NFC West in Run-Away? The Post-Bye Playoff Schedule Look – Sports Illustrated

They might not like to hear it, but the Seattle Seahawks have earned the right to lose a game.
Of course, after jumping across time zones to play the first-ever NFL game in Germany on Sunday, the team would have certainly not wanted to end what felt like a wasted trip after a 21-16 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But after reeling off four straight wins over the past month, Seattle remains in sole possession of first place in the NFC West despite wins by the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
And things could only be getting easier headed into a pivotal stretch of the season.
Seattle now enters its bye week to get some much-needed rest before getting set for a three-game stretch that could potentially give the team a stranglehold on the division.
Once the Seahawks come out of their bye to end November, they will host the disappointing Las Vegas Raiders (2-7) and visit the stumbling Los Angeles Rams (3-6) before coming back home to face the rebuilding Carolina Panthers (3-7).
These three teams have a combined record of 8-20, totaling just two more wins than the Seahawks have as a team. On paper, the Raiders have the talent capable of beating Seattle, but are instead on track to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft.
Carolina and LA could headed toward a similar path due to atrocious offense. The Panthers are averaging the third-fewest offensive yards per game (294.2) while the Rams are averaging the second-fewest (282.7).
The Rams, who were already averaging the fourth-fewest points per game (16.4), lost star receiver Cooper Kupp to an ankle injury on Sunday, leaving his status up in the air for the matchup against Seattle. Without him on the field, the Seahawks would be at a major advantage.
However, the Seahawks will need these three wins to give themselves some breathing room before arguably their toughest stretch of the year.
Seattle will host the Niners (5-4) for Thursday Night Football on Dec. 15 before visiting the AFC-leading Kansas City Chiefs (7-2) and welcoming the surprising New York Jets (6-3) to Lumen Field on New Year's Day.
Going 3-0 coming out of the bye week is quite realistic and could help toward sealing Seattle's chances of remaining in the driver's seat of a division that has been littered with inconsistency this season.
But the early ultimate decider of who could potentially win the division will be the game against San Francisco. Seattle was dominated 27-7 in the first meeting between the two teams in Week 2.
The Seahawks will get a week of rest before playing the Raiders on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 1:05 p.m. PT.
You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7
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