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Golden Nuggets: Will 49ers next three games determine first round bye?

San Francisco 49ers links for Saturday November 23, 2019

San Francisco 49ers v Green Bay Packers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Kyle Shanahan was asked about the 49ers playing for home field advantage in the playoffs earlier in the week, and he had this to say:

“I don’t even think about playoff seeding right now. Our goal is to get in the playoffs. We’re all right there, there’s still a lot of football left. Each game we win, we’ve got a better chance at getting in there. You don’t think about seeds, at least I don’t, until you can narrow it down to one or two games. I think we’re far from that right now.”

As fans I think we can all appreciate the ‘one game at a time’ mantra. The Patriots have followed that philosophy for almost 20 years and it has served them well. But for the 49ers this season, playoff seeding could ultimately determine their success in the post season, and it’s possible that their next three games will go a long way in determining if they earn a top 2 seed, which brings with it a first round bye.

The Niners were handed a tough draw by the schedule makers this season, being scheduled for a week 4 bye in the regular season. Sure, any bye is helpful, and it did allow for a few players - including Nick Bosa - to heal from their early season injuries. But ideally, teams would prefer to have it later in the season when the majority of players are nursing injuries and general fatigue.

Which is why the prospect of a second bye- during the first round of the playoffs - could be in the back of Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers minds over the next three weeks.

Scheduled to face three of the top six teams in the NFL, the 49ers will need at least two wins to keep pace with the top teams in the NFC. Anything less than that and they run the risk of falling below the 2 seed overall, or losing their grip on the NFC West lead which would preclude them from a first round bye as well.

So, while Shanahan patiently preaches the “one game at a time” philosophy to his team, ignoring seeding and focusing on the task at hand, the rest of Niners Nation knows that for this team, the playoffs begin now. And as important as the actual playoff games themselves are, the next three weeks could ultimately determine whether the 49ers are suiting up on February 2nd in Miami.

And now, onto the links:

Why Cris Collinsworth believes 49ers will be better at end of season (Matt Maiocco, NBC Sports)

49ers embark on historically difficult three-game stretch (Nick Wagoner, ESPN)

49ers get 3 key pass catchers back in practice (Kyle Madson, NinersWire)

49ers Film Breakdown: The Jimmy Garoppolo Experience (Jason Aponte, 49ers WebZone)

Pressure is key for 49ers beating Packers QB Aaron Rodgers in Week 12 (Peter Panacy, NinerNoise)

Kyle Shanahan not worried about playoff seeding yet (Kyle Madson, NinersWire)

Kyle Shanahan jokes that C.J. Beathard could return punts, kicks if active in a 49ers game (David Bonilla, 49ers WebZone)

49ers Week 12 preview vs. Packers: Jimmy Garoppolo must be on point (Peter Panacy, NinerNoise)

49ers’ ‘bunch of weirdos’ prepare to take aim at Aaron Rodgers (Kimberley A. Martin, Yahoo Sports)

Deebo Samuel ideal fit for Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers offense, Chris Simms says (Alex Didion, NBC Sports)

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Seahawks DE Jadeveon Clowney questionable with sore hip (Brady Henderson, ESPN)

Report: NFL to reconsider wild onside kick idea (John Breech, CBS Sports)

Jalen Ramsey asks Vick for ‘tips’ on how to stop Lamar (Nick Shook,

Veteran backup Josh Johnson among three QBs signed by XFL (Kevin Seifert, ESPN)