16-game schedule intact

After last week's terrorist strikes on New York, D.C. and Pennsylvania, the NFL ruled Tuesday that it will stick to its 16-game schedule by playing missed games the first week of January when wild-card play was supposed to take place. Now at issue is whether the usual 12 teams will enter into the playoffs, or because of a shortened schedule, to have eight, which could seriously hinder Seattle's chances of earning a post-season berth.

Typically 12 teams enter into post-season play, which includes all six division winners and the next three-best teams from each conference left to battle it out in the wild card.

By adding an extra week of regular-season play during the first week of January, that could push the Super Bowl back one week from Jan. 27 to Feb. 3.

However, moving the game back, which is scheduled to be played at the Superdome in New Orleans, La., isn't possible because the National Auto Dealers Convention is planned for the weekend after the game.

An assortment of scenarios are being considered, such as entering into the playoffs with only eight teams (one wild card from each conference), which would mean the Seahawks would have to finish the season as one of the top four teams in the AFC.

Another way to have 12 teams in the playoffs could be to play both AFC and NFC championship games on the same day, Jan. 27 in the Superdome - the day the Super Bowl is planned - and to schedule the big dance somewhere other than the Big Easy, with a promise for New Orleans to be a future host.

The Seahawks will play the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium for their final regular season game. They face a grueling season-ending schedule with six of their last eight games on the road. Not only do they need to get off to a quick start, but will have to finish strong and rely on a 12-team playoff schedule to have any hopes of reaching post-season play.

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