The San Francisco 49ers conclude their 2016 season on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks with not much on the line. The team is nearly guaranteed the #2 pick regardless of what happens and unless the Cleveland Browns’ first string is better than Pittsburgh Steelers’ second string, we can put those hopes of a #1 pick away until next season. Even if the Browns find a way to get a win on Sunday, the 49ers would only ‘technically’ get the 1st pick. Some numbers would have to be crunched. So not much left, right?
Well, unless you want to watch the 1-2 man have their playoffs ruined.
While nothing matters if the 49ers win or lose for San Francisco, there’s a lot riding on if Seattle wins or loses. If the 49ers can beat Seattle, that puts them on the road after the wildcard round. And we all know how Seattle plays on the road.
First the things out of their control: The Atlanta Falcons have to win. A win solidifies the Falcons as the number 2 seed in the playoffs. This gives them a bye week, home field advantage in the NFC divisional round and possible home field advantage if Dallas gets bumped off in their own playoff. The Falcons play the New Orleans Saints in Atlanta. The game is no gimmie, but much like the Seahawks, the Saints are a different team outside Louisiana. A Falcon loss and a Seahawk win would put the Seattle Seahawks at #2 seed and a collective groan would be heard across the country.
But, here’s where it gets interesting. If the Seahawks lose regardless, the team drops to the #4 seed. This puts them in a home game for Wild Card Weekend and then (assuming they win) they will have to go to either Dallas or Atlanta to keep their playoff hopes alive.
As much as I would like to see the 49ers draft stock improve, the thought that the 49ers can jam the Seahawks’ post season and keep the road to the Super Bowl out of Seattle makes me want to root for a win. Of course, the 1-2 Man will use the, “Well at least we are in the playoffs” excuse, and won’t want to listen when we remind them they were doing the same exact thing to us in 2011, in Jim Harbaugh’s first year as head coach. You know, before the rivalry was nothing more than media chanting and propaganda and before most people had a reason to hate Seattle. Now after self-proclaimed best cornerback speeches, popcorn on injured players, and my own memories of getting beer slapped out of my hands at Century Link, it seems more than adequate that we keep the Seahawks from having home field advantage.
#2 pick and Seahawk misery? I’m fine with that.