Patrick Willis celebrates the NFC West title - 49ers on Instagram
We take a look at the updated NFC playoff picture, which has the 49ers securing a first round bye courtesy of the Vikings last second win over the Green Bay Packers
Fooch's Note: Thanks as always to the 49ers social media folks for allowing me to use their pictures. This awesome shot comes via their Instagram account.
Adrian "All Day, Purple Jesus" Peterson, indeed! About 15 minutes after the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers received a huge gift from the Great White North. The Minnesota Vikings pulled off the upset win at home over the Green Bay Packers, providing the 49ers with the No. 2 seed and always necessary first round bye.
The Vikings secured their own spot in the playoffs with the win and will travel to Lambeau Field for a rematch of a pretty awesome matchup today. That means the Seattle Seahawks will travel to face the winner of the Washington Redskins-Dallas Cowboys Sunday Night Football contest. The high seed from those four teams will travel to San Francisco in two weeks, while the low seed will travel to Atlanta to face the top-seeded Falcons.
For the 49ers, the bye will be particularly big. Defensive tackle Justin Smith is recovering from a partially torn triceps muscle, and every extra day off helps. He will need surgery in the offseason, but he believes he can gut it out through the playoffs. I imagine he plays in two weeks, but I doubt we get any significant confirmation between now and then. Smith will likely get very little practice as he rests that arm.
The other question will be what to do at the kicker position. David Akers was horrible in the first half, and only slightly better in the second half before injuring his ankle on a PAT. It will be interesting to see if the 49ers bring anybody in for at least a workout before the divisional round.
For now, though, we get to take a moment to relax and enjoy a hard fought division title and bye. The 49ers have a lot of work to do if they want to make any sort of noise in the playoffs. Fortunately, they have time to assess things and make some adjustments.