Two games before the National Football League regular season ends there exists a situation no rational observer would have considered two games before it began: the Seattle Seahawks can make the playoffs as easily as the Raiders, Vikings and Redskins.

The Seahawks were created three years ago -- and won a total of seven games their first and second seasons. Now they are tied with Oakland for second place in the AFC West, with an 8-6 record.

Even if the Seahawks win their final two games, against the Chargers and Chiefs, they need other teams to falter to grab one of two AFC wildcard spots. They win ties against the Dolphins, who finish the season against Oakland and Minnesota, and the injury-troubled Oilers, who end against New Orleans and San Diego.

In addition to Miami, the Raiders must play the Vikings. And another wild-card possibility, the Jets, end their season against the Cowboys and Browns.

Whatever their final fate, the Seahawks under Jack Patera have been as startling this season as the Packers. And a major reason has been Tony Dorsett.

Yes, Dorsett has a chance to lead two teams into the playoffs, the Dallas Cowboys with his running and the Seahawks with his market value as a collegian. Dallas traded three draft choices to the Seahawks for the right to select Dorsett two years ago -- and those choices now are regulars.

Seattle believes guard Tom Lynch has All-Pro potential and also is enthusiastic about tackle Steve August and middle linebacker Terry Beeson.