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Seahawks in the playoffs? At this point, it is almost a lock

After three straight wins, Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are in prime position for a playoff spot.. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The Seahawks need wins.

With four games left in the season, they have work to do to clinch a playoff spot.

“We have a chance to finish and do something with this season,” coach Pete Carroll said Thursday as his team prepared for a Monday night showdown with the Minnesota Vikings. “There’s a chance. Hope is alive.”

That may be an understatement.

Seattle enters tonight’s game in firm grasp of a wild card spot in the NFC. So, too, do the Vikings.

The Seahawks are 7-5. Minnesota is 6-5-1. After Sunday, the closest contenders behind them are Carolina, Philadelphia and Washington, all at 6-7.

That means whoever wins tonight will have a stranglehold on the No. 5-seed, but the loser will still be in the driver’s seat for the final spot.

“Hope is strong in the building and in the locker room and we’re in control of it,” Carroll continued. “If we play really good football this week, then we set up next week.”

That is true. But the situation is far from desperate. With the tiebreakers, all the Seahawks need is two wins over NFC opponents and they are in the playoffs.

While it would be great to get the first of those wins tonight against the Vikings, Seattle still has games at the 49ers (3-10) and at home against the Cardinals (3-10). Win those, and the Seahawks are in.

“Each one of these weeks, they’re playoff weeks and they’re championship games,” Carroll assured.

Such is the talk of an NFL coach who wants his team to stay focused. But truth be told, the Seahawks aren’t in playoff mode anymore as much as playoff positioning mode.

A win tonight and next week at San Francisco and Seattle will clinch a playoff spot with two games left in the season and all but lock up the No. 5 seed.

For a team that once seemed in dire need of hope when they were 4-5, Seattle  suddenly finds itself in a commanding position thanks to three consecutive wins and a lot of losses from fellow NFC teams.

But don’t expect the Seahawks to talk any different about it. At least not until that playoff spot if officially clinched.

“You take one moment at a time,” quarterback Russell Wilson said Friday. “One game at a time, one practice at a time – you stay poised in the midst of it all and that allows you to have a championship belief and a championship opportunity to do something great.”

NFC Standings

  1. New Orleans (11-2)
  2. L.A. Rams (11-2)
  3. Chicago (9-4)
  4. Dallas (8-5)
  5. Seattle (7-5)
  6. Minnesota (6-5-1)

In the hunt:

  • Carolina (6-7)
  • Philadelphia (6-7)
  • Washington (6-7)
  • Green Bay (5-7-1)
  • Tampa Bay (5-8)
  • N.Y. Giants (5-8)
  • Detroit (5-8)
  • Atlanta (4-9)

Eliminated from playoff contention:

  • Arizona (3-10)
  • San Francisco (3-10)
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