The Seattle Seahawks just defeated the St. Louis Rams to clinch the NFC West division championship and accompanying first round home playoff game. I suppose congrats for winning the division, but I won't be rooting for them anytime soon. I'll have my rooting guide to the NFL playoffs as we move into the week.
In the meantime, one reason to be happy for the result in tonight's game is the 49ers schedule is now set and the 49ers get a nice little benefit. The Seahawks win leaves the 49ers in third place and secures them matchups with the Detroit Lions and Tampa Buccaneers. The schedule setup includes a matchup with two NFC opponents based on final standings. As a third place team the 49ers get the third place teams from the NFC South and NFC North.
Had the Seahawks lost, divisional record would have knocked the 49ers up into second place (although they'd still draft ahead of the Seahawks because draft order uses different tiebreakers). In second place the 49ers would have had to face the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints. I suppose one could argue they should beat anybody on their schedule, but give the way the NFL works I'll take an easier schedule any day of the week. The Lions and Bucs are both improving teams, but they're not as good as the Packers and Saints at this point. Maybe they'll end up better next year, but as it currently stands, I'll take them as opponents. Here is your final list of 49ers non-division opponents in 2011.