RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The end of December is when the Seattle Seahawks are supposed to be on a surge, not limping toward the conclusion of the regular season with questions clouding whether the Seahawks are true contenders when the NFC playoffs arrive.

But that is how Seattle (9-5-1) sits after squandering control of the No. 2 seed in the NFC and continuing a streak of a win, followed by a loss that has lingered for the past six games.

"I don't think it's alarming. I just think it's what we're working with," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said on Monday.

"Obviously it's going to be really difficult to expect us to play a great game until we do. You want to see that. I know that's what you're waiting for.

"But we're counting on our guys being able to play off one another, playing off the defense and how their playing, and special teams and put together good games. We got one big game coming up and we'll see where we are after this week."

Seattle's 34-31 loss to Arizona on Saturday could have lingering effects that end up derailing what at times has appeared to be a team capable of being a Super Bowl contender and at other moments one not worthy of being in the postseason.

Seattle's only hope of landing the No. 2 seed requires help from others, most notably the Atlanta Falcons losing at home on the final day to New Orleans.

Seattle must also win at San Francisco on Sunday and while it's possible the Falcons falter, they are also 6½-point favorites over the Saints. An Atlanta win would leave the Seahawks with no rest and a home playoff game the first weekend of January.