San Francisco’s Playoff Scenarios

Going into tonight’s game against the hapless Atlanta Falcons, the 49ers could go anywhere from number one seed to out of the playoffs. They ultimately have destiny in their hands. Should they lose tonight the Seattle Seahawks will clinch the division and the number one seed. The door was opened for the possibility of a division championship by the Cardinals victory in Seattle. The Cardinals are the first team to win in Seattle since December 2011 when the 49ers beat them on Christmas Eve 19-17.

Here is how the scenario works in the 49ers favor, if Seattle loses their last game to the Rams and San Francisco wins out they win the division. On top of that the Panthers would have to lose to the Falcons for them to have the road to the Super Bowl come through them. Panthers own the tie breaker over the Niners with their win at Candlestick Park 10-9. One can fully expect the Niners to win tonight and make Week 17 very interesting, if it wasn’t already. Basically tonight is win and your in.

However, there are playoff scenarios that do not include the Niners at all. In that case tonight’s game doesn’t mean anything but next week they will be playing for their playoff lives. The Niners will play at Arizona with the winner getting one of the two wild card spots. That is provided the Seahawks win and the division is wrapped up. If the Cardinals beat the Niners then San Francisco would be eighth team since 1997 to lose the Super Bowl and not make the playoffs the following year. The other seven are Falcons (1999), Giants (2001), Rams (2002), Raiders (2003), Panthers (2004), Eagles (2005) and Bears (2006).