SEATTLE - The Seattle Seahawks clinched a playoff spot on Sunday at CenturyLink Field with a 30-13 win over the Cleveland Browns.
With the victory, Seattle (9-5) regains its hold on the No. 5 seed in the NFC by way of head-to-head tiebreaker over the No. 6-seeded Minnesota Vikings (9-5) with two games to play in the regular season. If the season ended today, the Seahawks would travel to Washington, D.C. for a wild-card matchup with the NFC East-leading and No. 4-seeded Redskins (7-7). The Seahawks' Week 15 win over the Browns also eliminated the St. Louis Rams (6-8), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8), and New Orleans Saints (6-8) from playoff contention.
"It's nice to make the playoffs," said Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. "But our goals are much loftier than that."
The Arizona Cardinals (12-2) clinched the NFC West with a win on Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, which means the Seahawks are assured one of the two wild-card playoff spots as the No. 5 or No. 6 seed. It marks the fourth consecutive postseason berth for the Seahawks and fifth postseason appearance in six seasons under head coach Pete Carroll.
"I like that," Carroll said. "I like that a lot. That's what we're here to do, to be consistent and be on top and battle to see how far you can take it. Right now, we're feeling pretty good about our move. It's marvelous to be finishing like this again. I can't tell you anything that I like more."
Seattle has played in back-to-back Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XLVIII, 43-8, against the Denver Broncos to earn the first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history. Seattle fell to the New England Patriots, 28-24, in Super Bowl XLIX last year.
"You're talking about a champion team," Sherman said of the Seahawks' rebounding from their 2-4 start to the season. "You're talking about veterans. You're talking about people who have seen the bottom, you're talking about people who have seen the top. You underestimate the heart of a champion you're going to lose a lot of the time. No matter what the record is we still understood who we were and what we were able to do. Unfortunately we lost a few games, but we were never deterred."