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The Saints have averaged 43 points per game over their last four contests. (AP)

The Seahawks aren’t hitting the field again until Sunday, but they can still see a boost in their playoff odds with the slate of Thanksgiving Day games.

O’Neil: Seahawks sat idle Sunday, but saw playoff help with NFC outcomes

Kicking off Thursday’s games will be the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions at 9:30 a.m., followed by Washington and Dallas at 1:30 p.m., and finally the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons at 5:20 p.m.

So how should Seahawks fans be rooting in each of the three games? We’re here to help.

Understanding the playoff picture

If the season were to end today, the Seahawks (5-5) would miss the playoffs. Fortunately for Seattle (and 19 other teams) that’s not the case and there’s still plenty of football left to be played.

Here’s the current picture:

1. Los Angeles Rams (10-1)
2. New Orleans Saints (9-1)
3. Chicago Bears (7-3)
4. Washington Redskins (6-4)
5. Carolina Panthers (6-4)
6. Minnesota Vikings (5-4-1)

Obviously the Seahawks help themselves the most with a win over the Panthers Sunday. Until then, here are the outcomes Seahawks fans should be rooting for:

Chicago Bears over Detroit Lions

The Lions (4-6) helped the Seahawks last week with their win over the Panthers (6-4), but in this case the further back Detroit is pushed in the wild card standings, all the better for Seattle. A Lions win and a loss by the Seahawks Sunday would give them the same record (5-6). In that case, Seattle would have the tiebreaker. But it’s a bit too close for comfort in a crowded race.

The Bears (7-3) are in first place in the NFC North and defeated the Lions 34-22 at home on Nov. 11. The Bears are 4 1/2 point favorites for the reunion between the two teams in Detroit.

The biggest injury concern for Chicago is quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who injured his throwing shoulder in last week’s game against the Vikings. The Bears didn’t practice Monday, but in their hypothetical injury report Trubisky was listed as having not been a participant. Meanwhile, the Lions have a crowded hypothetical injury report, with the biggest name on that list being running back Kerryon Johnson (knee).

Dallas Cowboys over Washington

This one is a bit more interesting. At 5-5, the Cowboys have the same record as the Seahawks. But Seattle’s Week 3 win over Dallas gives them a head-to-head tiebreaker. In this case, Seahawks fans would probably hope the Cowboys would take over the top spot in the NFC East (and what will likely be a four seed) and Washington – a team that just lost quarterback Alex Smith for the season – falls in the standings.

For the time being, Washington’s divisional record would still put them ahead of Seattle in the conference — but without Smith, it’s unlikely they’ll stay there.

The Cowboys, who are are 7 1/2 point favorites, are coming off of a win over the Eagles, and will be playing at home.

New Orleans Saints over Atlanta Falcons

The Saints (9-1) already look like NFC South champs, and a win by New Orleans would push the Falcons (4-6) further back in the wild card race. There’s one notable difference in the Seahawks’ relationship with the Falcons and Lions: the Seahawks won’t play the Falcons this year, and therefore won’t have a chance at a head-to-head tiebreaker. So the worse Atlanta’s record becomes, the better.

The Saints have averaged 43 points per game over their last four contests and are 13 1/2 point favorites over the Falcons.

Atlanta, at least, has health on its side. The Falcons had no missed participants in their hypothetical practice report Monday. Meanwhile the Saints have a few injured players, including starting center Max Unger (quadriceps). Still, quarterback Drew Brees is having one of the best seasons of his career and the Saints are playing at home.

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