Three games remain in the 2010 season, and the NFC West playoff picture is about as muddled as it can be. All four teams are still in the hunt — even the 4-9 Cardinals.
But as surprising as it may sound, the Seahawks have total control of where they’ll be — on vacation or in the playoffs — after the final game of the year.
Both the Seahawks and Rams, at 6-7, control their destiny in the playoff pursuit. The Seahawks host the Falcons and play at Tampa Bay before the Rams visit Qwest Field for the season finale that could serve as a de facto play-in game. The Rams host the Chiefs and 49ers before flying to face Seattle on Jan. 2.
The 49ers need some help in their chase for the championship. The Seahawks and Rams both need to lose at least once more, and San Francisco would have to either win out or go 2-1 and hope for other pieces to fall into place to claim the title.
Even Arizona is still in it, but the Cardinals need a virtual miracle, including three straight wins and a tie in the Jan. 2 Seahawks-Rams game, along with a combined 0-7 record by the three division opponents in their other contests during the final three weeks of the season.
Here’s a look at the remaining games for NFC West teams:
Seattle (6-7): vs. Atlanta, at Tampa Bay, vs. St. Louis
St. Louis (6-7): vs. Kansas City, vs. San Francisco, at Seattle
San Francisco (5-8): at San Diego, at St. Louis, vs. Arizona
Arizona (4-9): at Carolina, vs. Dallas, at San Francisco