Normally, I’d roll through every matchup for a rooting guide, but this week is incredibly simple. If the Seahawks win and the Falcons lose, Atlanta’s watching the playoffs from home, so you must root against the Seahawks.
Seattle’s got a relatively simple matchup, as they’re at home against an Arizona Cardinals team that has been rocked by injury and was never a great team to begin with. Arizona could win—they have a habit of playing Seattle tough—but it’s far from a lock that they’ll do so. A Cardinals win would ensure that no matter what Atlanta does today, they make the postseason, so it’s really the only outcome because Falcons-Panthers that matters to us.
If you can keep your lunch down whilst doing so, you may also want to pull for the Saints this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A Saints win will ensure Carolina cannot improve their playoff seeding by beating Atlanta, which might encourage Ron Rivera to sit his starters or pull them early. I know it’s not particularly sporting to root for Atlanta’s opponent to play at less than full strength or interest, but damnit I want the playoffs, so I’ll do what it takes.
If you want, you can make things more complex and try to game a certain opponent, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time and energy thinking about who the Falcons are going to play when we’re not even certain Atlanta is in yet. Hold your nose and root for the Saints and Cardinals this week, and we’ll let the cards fall where they may from there.