Seahawks playoff scenarios after loss to Cardinals

Seahawks playoff scenarios after loss to Cardinals
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes as Arizona Cardinals defensive end Frostee Rucker (98) moves in on defense in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE -- The Seahawks dropped their first home game in nearly two years, falling to Arizona 17-10 on a late touchdown and a controversial call at the end of the game.

Seattle (12-3) would have locked up the NFC West and the top-seed in the conference with a win against the Cardinals, but that obviously didn't happen.

That means the Seahawks' postseason fate still hangs in the balance. A lot leans on Seattle's season finale against St. Louis, but there's plenty that also hinges on San Francisco (10-4) and Carolina (11-4).

Here's how it can shake out for the Seahawks moving forward:

BEST CASE SCENARIO

San Francisco ties or loses to Atlanta on Monday Night Football. A 49ers loss or tie means the Seahawks clinch the division and it puts Seattle in good position to take the top-seed in the conference on Sunday against St. Louis.

SECOND BEST SCENARIO

If San Francisco beats Atlanta on Monday, the next best scenario would involve the Seahawks taking down St. Louis on Sunday. A victory against the Rams would lock up the division and the top-seed in the NFC for Seattle (thanks to a head-to-head tie-breaker that would place the Seahawks over the Panthers).

THIRD BEST SCENARIO

If San Francisco beats Atlanta on Monday and then ties or loses to Arizona on Sunday, then the Seahawks would win the NFC West (and they wouldn't even have to beat the Rams to do it). If Seattle does beat St. Louis, the Seahawks clinch the top-seed in the conference as well.

WORST CASE SCENARIO

If Seattle loses to St. Louis and San Francisco beats Atlanta and Arizona, the 49ers would win the NFC West (based on a division record tie-breaker) and Carolina would get the NFC's top-seed with a win against the Falcons (thanks to a head-to-head tie-breaker with the 49ers). The only way San Francisco earns the top-seed in the NFC is by winning their next two games, while Seattle loses to St. Louis and Carolina falls to Atlanta.

The Seahawks are in the playoffs no matter what, but their seed all depends on how the next few days play out. In reality, Seattle can finish anywhere from the No. 1-seed in the NFC or they could slide all the way to No. 5 (if they don't win the NFC West).