With four games left, the Seattle Seahawks still have their eyes focused on their primary goal set before the season started: winning the NFC West Division title.
And Seattle’s impressive victory over Chicago last week on the road helped keep alive that possibility.
“It’s real big,” defensive tackle Brandon Mebane said about his team’s win over the Bears. “We’re just taking one game at a time to get to our major goal, which is to win the division.”
At 7-5 overall, the Seahawks are 11/2 games behind division leader San Francisco (8-3-1).
But if the 49ers lose two of their last four games, including a Dec. 23 tilt in Seattle, and the Seahawks win out, the NFC West title would be theirs for a second time in three years.
The Seahawks also may benefit from having one of the easier schedules remaining among playoff contenders.
Seattle plays three of its last four games – NFC West division foes Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis – in the noisy comfort of CenturyLink Field, where the team is 5-0 this season.
And Seattle’s only road game is against 5-7 Buffalo, in what will almost be a neutral site in Toronto.
One final bonus: So far the 49ers are the only team left on the schedule with a winning record.
San Francisco hosts Miami on Sunday, followed by a trip to New England to face the Patriots, a road game against Seattle and a season finale at home against Arizona.
San Francisco’s contest against the Patriots is the most likely game where the 49ers could stub their toe — since 2001 the Patriots have a league-best 23-1 home record in December.
“It’s still out there,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said about winning a division title. “We’ve got a lot of games left in the division. San Francisco has a great thing going there. And if they can take care of their business, then they’ll leave everybody else behind. But they’ve still got to win the games, and we do too.”
That said, Carroll also wants his team to resist the urge to look too far ahead. The Seahawks have won three of their last four contests, and face an Arizona team that’s lost eight straight. But Carroll said his team is focused on Sunday’s game at home against the Cardinals.