Last year, we started a post on the rooting guide with this paragraph:
We’re near the midpoint of the 2018 NFL San Francisco 49ers season and as I said in the first post I did on this: San Francisco 49ers are out of lives and continues. There are no coins to insert in continuing this either, it’s time to look at a rooting guide for 2019 draft positioning.
Well, the 49ers have all their lives and continues this year. In fact, they may have gotten a few high scores and extra lives in the process. We are no longer doing rooting guides for the draft. We are doing them for playoff positioning.
The 49ers are right now at the top of the NFL as the only unbeaten team in the league left. Barring disaster, they should be primed for a playoff push. A respectable finish to get the worst seeding is 10-6. 11-5 would be a bit better guarantee, but we can go with 10-6 for now. That would require two more wins.
Of course, that’s setting the bar pretty low. Ideally, we could just skip all this with the expectation the 49ers finish 16-0, rendering these posts pretty useless. In my experience, that never happens. Sorry, but it’s true.
Behind the 49ers are the Green Bay Packers , the New Orleans Saints, and the Seattle Seahawks nipping for divisional dominance. The 49ers can handle their business on Monday when they face the Seahawks, though every time you need the 49ers to take care of things themselves, something bizarre happens when the Seahawks are involved.
The Saints will have the Atlanta Falcons. That game should be pretty much shut and sealed, but it’s divisional and the Falcons have something to prove. If there’s an upset this week, I’d put my money on that.
The Packers will have the Carolina Panthers which is a huge game considering the 49ers performance against them.
Below are the games you should care about:
Falcons (1-7) at Saints (7-1): Falcons — Most of these are self explanatory, but any losses to the Saints will help. The 49ers will face the Saints and head to head will be the main tiebreaker, if there is a two-way tie. If there is a three-way tie for whatever the reason, it goes to divisional records. So that would make a Falcons win all the more important in case the 49ers sit with the Saints and Packers in a three-way record tie.
Rams (5-3) at Steelers (4-4): Steelers — The Steelers being a common game means that if the Rams manage to right this ship, and catch up to the 49ers, common opponents could play a factor. The 49ers beat the Steelers so a Rams loss here would apply to a tiebreaker.
Panthers (5-3) at Packers (7-2) Panthers — The Packers might not be as great as we thought after that awful performance against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Panthers have a chance to knock them further back into the wildcard. The real tiebreaker is how the 49ers will do against the Packers since head to head is the first tiebreaking rule, but handing them a loss behind the 49ers so we don’t have to worry about that (in case that doesn’t go as planned) never hurt anyone. Plus, they don’t need to have more wins than the 49ers either for that precious one or two seed.
Here are tiebreaking procedures in NFL playoff seeding:
1.. Head-to-head, if applicable.
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
4. Strength of victory.
5. Strength of schedule.
6. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
7. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best net points in conference games.
9. Best net points in all games.
10. Best net touchdowns in all games.
11. Coin toss.
Three or More Clubs
(Note: If two clubs remain tied after third or other clubs are eliminated, tie breaker reverts to step 1 of applicable two-club format.)
1. Apply division tie breaker to eliminate all but the highest ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. The original seeding within a division upon application of the division tie breaker remains the same for all subsequent applications of the procedure that are necessary to identify the two Wild-Card participants.
2. Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has defeated each of the others or if one club has lost to each of the others.)
3.Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
5. Strength of victory.
6. Strength of schedule.
7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
9. Best net points in conference games.
10. Best net points in all games.
11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
12. Coin toss
NOTE: Tie games count as one-half win and one-half loss for both clubs.