So, after Sunday’s tough loss in Seattle, we stand at 1-1 and the Seahawks stand at 2-0. I wanted to explore what we will have to do in order to win the division
Looking first at Seattle’s schedule, there is some immediate good news. Seattle plays all three of their toughest remaining opponents (Houston, Atlanta, SF rematch) on the road - where they look much more beatable than at home. They also face challenges on the road against the Colts and Giants, as well as division rivals Arizona and St. Louis. Although they already have one win in the bag, I think it’s likely that they may not do better than .500 on the road. The flipside of this, however, is that they face a very easy slate of opponents at home, with their toughest challenge coming from the Saints on a Monday Night game. That being said, I think the most likely outcome is that they will go 8-0 at home and either 4-4 or 5-3 on the road; for a final record of either 12-4 or 13-3.
In order to match (or top) that, we will have our work cut out for us. The next six weeks leading up to the bye will be critical, in my opinion. After splitting two very tough games to start the season, we have a number of winnable contests. Our toughest challenge will probably be the Texans (at home), followed by the Colts (home) and Rams (road), plus the Cardinals (home), Titans (road) and the Jaguars (road, London). We need to go at least 5-1 over this stretch if we are to have any realistic hope of winning the division, since we play most of our toughest remaining games after the bye. After the bye, our biggest challenges will be New Orleans on the road, and Seattle and Atlanta at home (the rest of our games are: Panthers, @ Redskins, Rams, @ Buccaneers, @ Cardinals). If there is only one "Must Win" game left on our schedule, it is the Week 14 re-match with Seattle, since the first tiebreaker is head-to-head record. Depending on what our record looks like going into the bye, we could potentially drop one or two games after the bye and still win the division but it would be VERY close.
Bottom line: I think we will need to shoot for 13-3 to win the division. It is very possible but will require us to win all of the "should win" games and a good number of the closer ones, especially the Seattle rematch. Seattle may make things easier for us if they drop a winnable game or two on the road, but we cannot count on that.