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NFL playoff picture 2013: 49ers solidify wildcard lead

The 49ers handled their business in Week 13, defeating the St. Louis Rams 23-13. We break down the current playoff picture heading into a huge Monday Night Football matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints. New to Niners Nation? Sign up here and join the discussion!

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Week 13 wraps up Monday night with a great matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints. The winner will hold the top seed in the NFC, although the Seahawks would have a firmer grasp on it with a win. The Saints still sit only one game up on the Carolina Panthers with both games between these two still on the schedule. For the Seahawks, a win all but locks up the division, as they would hold a three-game lead with only four games remaining.

The 49ers defeated the St. Louis Rams 23-13, and moved into sole possession of the final wildcard spot. The Arizona Cardinals lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, dropping them a game back of the 49ers. Here is a rundown of the NFC playoff race heading into Monday Night Football:

No. 1 Seattle Seahawks 10-1 (NFC West leader)
No. 2 New Orleans Saints 9-2 (NFC South leader)
No. 3 Detroit Lions 7-5 (NFC North leader)
No. 4 Dallas Cowboys 7-5 (NFC East leader)
No. 5 Carolina Panthers 9-3 (Wild Card)
No. 6 San Francisco 49ers 8-4 (Wild Card)

On the outside looking in
1. Philadelphia Eagles (7-5)
2. Arizona Cardinals (7-5)
3. Chicago Bears (6-6)
4. Green Bay Packers (5-6-1)
5. New York Giants (5-7)

Draft pick watch
1. St. Louis Rams (5-7)
2. Minnesota Vikings (3-8-1)
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-9)
4. Atlanta Falcons (3-9)
5. Washington (3-9)

The Eagles actually hold the tiebreaker edge over the 49ers, with a 6-2 conference record to the 49ers 5-3 conference record. Suffice to say, they represent the biggest threat at this point to the 49ers wildcard hopes. The Cardinals are tied with the Eagles, but Arizona's Sunday loss was a big blow. They are 0-3 in the division and 4-5 in the conference, and still have to play in Seattle. If the 49ers and Cardinals finish in a tie, the edge would likely end up going to the 49ers.

Week 14 schedule

Seahawks @ 49ers - Yea, this is kind of a big deal. Whatever the Seahawks do against the Saints on Monday Night Football, a win in this game clinches the division for Seattle. A loss to the Saints leaves the Seahawks up two games with four to play, while a win leaves the Seahawks up three games with four to play. For the 49ers, they just need to keep winning games to keep wildcard teams in their rear view mirror.

Falcons @ Packers - The Packers season is circling the drain. It sounds like an Aaron Rodgers return for this game is iffy at best. If they were to lose this game and drop to 5-7-1, I suspect they would shut down Rodgers for the rest of the season.

Lions @ Eagles - This game features a battle of the division-leading Lions, and the division-tied (but losing the tiebreaker) Eagles. As 49ers fans, we'll be rooting for the Lions in this one to knock the Eagles down a notch.

Rams @ Cardinals - The Rams technically remain alive in the wildcard race, but given the sweep at the hands of the 49ers, they are basically three out with four to play. The Cardinals are officially in must-win territory following their loss to the Eagles. I believe a loss to the Rams combined with a 49ers win would just about eliminate the Cardinals from playoff contention.

Giants @ Chargers - New York continues to hang around, although it's by a thread. They're two games back of the Cowboys and Eagles, but it's worth noting Dallas swept their season series. A Giants loss or a Cowboys win in Week 14, and the Giants get bumped into draft pick watch.

Cowboys @ Bears - The Bears dropped a game back and will hope to get Jay Cutler back. The Cowboys beat the Raiders to maintain their tiebreaker lead on the Eagles. The Cowboys and Eagles play in Week 17, so there is a pretty good chance that game will determine the division champion.