Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
We break down the NFL playoff picture heading into Week 17.
I suppose that phrase is only mildly applicable, but any chance to mention a classic line from a classic movie is always welcome. No matter what happens this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers are going to the playoffs. If they lose, I might not be alive to see it, but they will be in the playoffs nonetheless.
As the 49ers head into Week 17, the playoff field is mostly set. The AFC has all six teams determined, but there is a lot of seeding still to be sorted out. In the NFC, four of the six teams are set with the 49ers, Seahawks, Falcons and Packers having clinched playoff berths. The Redskins face the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, with the winner claiming the NFC East title. If the Redskins lose, they can still claim the second wild card berth with losses by the Vikings and Bears. If the Cowboys lose, they are out of the playoffs. The Giants can get in the playoffs with a win and losses by the Cowboys, Bears and Vikings.
The 49ers Week 17 matchup against the Cardinals is a big one. The 49ers need a win or a Seahawks loss to clinch the NFC West. Additionally, if the 49ers win and the Packers lose to the Vikings, the 49ers would still claim the number two seed. At this point, getting the bye is the least of my concerns, but I would be very happy to get that bye.
As has become the case, the folks at Reddit came up with an awesome infographic about the playoffs. The chart shows the various possible outcomes for the top six seeds. The 49ers can finish in one of three spots: second, third or fifth. If the 49ers win the division and play as the third seed, they would face the six seed in the first round. If they win that game, they would advance to face the Green Bay Packers in round two. The top seed from the first round faces the two seed in the second round, while the low seed from the first round faces the one seed.
And so we wait and see what Sunday brings. We will get a couple answers in the 10:00 a.m. games on Sunday, but most of our answers will come later in the day. The 10:00 a.m. slate includes the Bears at the Lions and the Giants hosting the Eagles. both teams need to win to make the 1:25 p.m. games matter. At 1:25, we'll see the Packers @ Vikings, which will help clear up the wild card race a little bit. The 49ers and Seahawks both play then as well. The night wraps up with Cowboys @ Redskins for the NFC East title. It should be a wild day of football.