In the history of the NFL there have been only nine teams that have ever made the playoffs with a record of 8-8. In the house of football, these teams represent the basement; the lowest you can go while still technically indoors. Beneath that basement, however, sits a mildewed crawlspace unseen by man, filled with crusted mouse droppings, a fine layer of black mold and, quite possibly in the next three weeks, a team from the NFC West, the Stephen Baldwin of NFL divisions.
After both division-leading teams lost this past Sunday, Football Outsiders' adjusted playoff odds now say that there's a greater than 50 percent chance that either the Seahawks, San Francisco 49'ers or St. Louis Rams will become the tenth team to sneak in at 8-8. Worse, there's now a one-in-four chance that the winner will have a losing record, which would make that team the first in NFL history to make the playoffs having lost more than it won.
For the past two years football fans have argued about the relative historical suckitude of the NFC West. But should one of its teams sneak in at 7-9 the debate will be over. Here's hoping that if anyone has to occupy that dank, metaphorical sub-basement, it at least be the home team.