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The Seattle Seahawks are one of the most experienced, well-coached teams in the NFC, which is why so many pundits have picked them to win the conference. But they haven’t looked like themselves in December, giving up at least 34 points in two of their last three games and losing at home for the first time this season. 


Sinking Seahawks

After their Week 11 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, some experts felt that the Seahawks would be a threat down the stretch of the season and in the playoffs. However, the Seahawks have lost three of their last five games, fell out of the second seed position in the NFC and endured a number of injuries. All-Pro safety Earl Thomas and playmaker Tyler Lockett are out for the season. It looks like they’ll have to win in Dallas or Atlanta – or possibly both – just to make it to the Super Bowl, which will be tough for a team that’s 2-4-1 on the road. For much of the season, the Seahawks have been among the favourites to win the NFC, but given their performance over the last month, their potential for success is diminishing.


Raiders Push Forward Without Carr

The Oakland Raiders are experiencing their fair share of struggles this season end, too. They won 12 games, but might not win again now that quarterback Derek Carr is out for the season. Fueled by a strong offense, the Raiders now have to find a way to survive with quarterback Matt McGloin at the helm. 


NFC Playoff Scenarios

The most intriguing playoff scenarios in Week 17 come from the NFC. The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions will square off for the NFC North title, and the loser could miss the playoffs altogether. The Washington Redskins face the New York Giants on Sunday, and if the Redskins win, they’ll have a better record than the loser of the Packers-Lions game. The Redskins should have an easier path to victory, as early reports suggest that the New York Giants – who can’t move up or down – will rest their starters.


Important Injuries

Carlos Hyde (SF): The 49ers running back suffered a sprained MCL and was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday.

Tyler Eifert (CIN): The Bengals tight end was placed on injured reserve with a back injury. Eifert’s absence further limits Andy Dalton’s targets, as star receiver AJ Green and running back Gio Bernard are already out.

Tyler Lockett (SEA): The Seahawks receiver broke his leg last week and will be out for the remainder of the season. He was third on the team in receptions and receiving yards, and led the team in yards per catch.


*Odds as of December 28, 2016