Seattle probably has to win an away game to make the playoffs

SEATTLE Ð All signs point to the Seattle Seahawks making the NFL playoffs Ñ if their road game woes don't derail them.

The Seahawks probably have to win one of three remaining road games, as well as beat lowly Arizona in their home finale Dec. 21, to make the playoffs for only the second time since 1988.

Easier said than done. The Seahawks have only beaten Arizona on the road and have found assorted ways to blow leads and lose at Cincinnati, Washington and Baltimore.

'Win one? Hopefully, we can get all (three) of them,' linebacker Anthony Simmons says.

The Seahawks are 7-0 at home after blasting Cleveland 34-7 Sunday in their best all-around game of the season. They play at Minnesota and St. Louis in the next two weeks and finish the season Dec. 27 at San Francisco.

Seattle and Dallas, tied at 8-4, each hold two-game leads for the two NFC wildcard spots. The problem for Seattle: Green Bay (6-6) beat the Seahawks earlier in the year and would get the playoff berth in the event of a tie. So, who do you bet on, Seattle or Brett Favre?

That's not saying Seattle has its sights set simply on the wild-card berth. If they win their final four games, which would include St. Louis, the Seahawks would capture the NFC West Division title. The Rams (9-3) lead the division, but Seattle beat them 24-23 on Sept. 21.

Two weeks, two offensive explosions for the Seahawks against pretty good NFL defenses. They scored 41 points on Baltimore last week and then amassed 463 yards against Cleveland.

What a performance: Emerging star Matt Hasselbeck's 328 yards and three TDs on 26 of 35 passing; Shaun Alexander's 127 yards rushing; Darrell Jackson's eight catches for 102 yards; and Koren Robinson's six catches for 122 yards. It marked the first time in Seattle franchise history that a quarterback topped 300 yards, a running back went over 100, and two receivers had 100 in the same game.

'We're laughing inside,' Alexander says, 'because the NFL hasn't seen the best game for the Seattle Seahawks yet. We're not done.

'We all said we were going to get hot, and we had to fight to win some games early and work out the kinks. Now we have a goal to make this team special. We're on the path to something great.'

Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren generally looks at third-down conversions as an indicator of success, and the Seahawks had phenomenal numbers Sunday: 11 of 17 third-down conversions on offense and 2 of 10 on defense.

The Seahawks ranked second in the NFL in third-down conversions (46.1 percent) entering the game and had made eight of their first 11 on Sunday. On their 12th attempt, late in the third quarter, the Browns stopped Alexander on a third-and-one.

Alexander stormed off the field, said something and gestured to Holmgren, who walked over to the bench and lectured his three-time 1,000-yard rusher for about two minutes.

Selfish act? No, Alexander said he that expects perfection from the offensive unit Ñ and mistakes to be made in practice Ñ and that miscommunication led to the bad play.

'If I see something I don't like, I'm going to raise my voice,' he says. 'We always talk like that, and it seems more emotional than it is.'

The Seahawks defense, still sore from last week's second-half debacle at Baltimore, vowed all week to tighten things up, not allow big plays and force the Browns into third-and-long. Holmgren said the defense got 'angry' during the week.

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