The Seahawks host the Cardinals, who already have lost five road games this season. Seattle enters this weekend with a 4-3 record at CenturyLink Field. They have not lost four home games in a season since 2011.
So, which team will earn the final playoff berth?
The Falcons were hurt a bit by Carolina edging out the Bucs late last week, giving them a reason to play. Atlanta running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have 500-plus rushing yards and seven-plus total touchdowns this season, the second straight year they have done that.
Seattle has a much easier game, but it doesn’t control its destiny. If the Seahawks and Falcons win, Seattle misses the playoffs. The odds are against the Seahawks this week, considering the Falcons are at home against a depleted Panthers team.
In fact, considering Mayfield was now skipping a fourth Rose Bowl event due to some mysterious illness, the chatter had only amplified.
Where was he, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley was asked? How sick was he? Would he actually have to sit out the CFP semifinal against Georgia on Monday?
Finally, Mayfield decided it was time to make an appearance. And, as far as college football news conferences go, what an appearance it was.
Mayfield hailed a driver from the team hotel two miles away and arrived at the L.A. Hotel Downtown, where the rest of the Sooners had been assembled for media day for close to half an hour.
Up in the second-floor ballroom, Oklahoma backup quarterback Kyler Murray had a growing horde of reporters circling his table, pecking away at the unbelievable possibility that he might have to start in place of the Heisman Trophy winner in one of the biggest games in school history. Murray kept saying he’d be ready to start, likely knowing full well he wouldn’t need to.
At that moment, a growing buzz could be heard coming from the nearby corner, where Mayfield’s previously empty podium seat had unexpectedly been filled by the most important player of the CFP.