Here's how the Seahawks can still make the playoffs

The Seattle Seahawks' potential path to the playoffs became a bit more clear Monday night when the Atlanta Falcons hung on for a victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It also got even harder.

Atlanta's victory eliminated whatever remote chance Seattle had to make the playoffs with a 9-7 record. So the Seahawks (8-6) will need to win their final two games -- at Dallas on Sunday and at home vs. Arizona in Week 17 -- to have any shot at the playoffs. They'll also need help.

That's why fivethirtyeight.com gives the Seahawks only a 10 percent chance at making the playoffs and ESPN's analytics team has it at 14.1 percent. That combines Seattle's chances of making it as either the NFC West champs (2.1 percent), the No. 5 seed (.5 percent) or the No. 6 seed (11.5 percent).

Here's how the Seahawks can reach the playoffs:

As the NFC West champs

This one is pretty straightforward, yet still difficult.

As stated, the Seahawks need to win out to to have any shot at the playoffs. If they do that, and if the Los Angeles Rams lose their final two games to finish 10-6, the Seahawks would be division champs. Both teams would have the same record, but Seattle would own the applicable tiebreaker, which is a better record in the division.

The Rams play at Tennessee then at home vs. San Francisco.

As a wild card

This is where it gets complicated.

The simplest explanation is that the Seahawks would earn a wild-card berth if they win out and either the New Orleans Saints (10-4), Carolina Panthers (10-4) or Atlanta (9-5) lose their final two games while the Detroit Lions (8-6) also lose at least one of their final two games. New Orleans plays at home vs. Atlanta then at Tampa Bay. Carolina has the Bucs at home and then the Falcons in Atlanta. Detroit plays at Cincinnati and then at home vs. Green Bay.

The Seahawks would lose out on tiebreakers to Atlanta (head-to-head) and to Detroit (common games) if they each finished 10-6 and were in line for the same wild-card spot.

The other wild-card scenario for Seattle entails both New Orleans and Carolina losing out. In that scenario, Atlanta would win the NFC South and the Seahawks would own tiebreakers over New Orleans and Carolina because of a better conference record. Seattle would then claim one of the two wild-card spots even if Detroit wins out.

Dallas (8-6) is also in the mix for a wild-card spot, but all of the above scenarios assume the Seahawks beating the Cowboys and Cardinals. Green Bay was eliminated from contention with Atlanta's win, which could end up working against the Seahawks in a way. The Packers just shut down Aaron Rodgers for the remainder of the season, which makes Detroit's Week 17 matchup with Green Bay significantly easier.

But again, none of those scenarios matter unless the Seahawks take care of their part of the equation by winning out.