The San Francisco 49ers are set to take on the Los Angeles Rams in Week 18 to wrap up the season, having clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC last weekend due to a win over the Washington Commanders and a Philadelphia Eagles loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
With the No. 1 seed wrapped up, the 49ers have a decision on their hands in Week 18, as they could look to go about their business normally or elect to rest key players for the stretch run.
Earlier this, wide receiver Deebo Samuel hinted that San Francisco’s starters would play “a good bit” to keep the flow going, but that rest for the body was key as well.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has already ruled out quarterback Brock Purdy, preserving him for the team’s playoff run, where the 49ers could face a plethora of teams in the divisional round depending on the outcome of Week 18.
In our latest podcast episode, we discussed the 49ers’ win over the Commanders, while also breaking down what San Francisco should do in Week 18 and looking ahead to potential playoff matchups.
The video for the show is embedded above, while the audio is available below.
Looking at potential divisional matchups, it appears that the likeliest options are the Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, or the Philadelphia Eagles.
In Week 18, I envision the Dallas Cowboys beating the Washington Commanders to win the NFC East Division, dropping the Eagles to the No. 5 seed.
Meanwhile, should the Rams win against the 49ers in Week 18, they’d be locked into the No. 6 seed, where they’d face the Detroit Lions in the wildcard round.
The Green Bay Packers face a win-and-in against the Chicago Bears this weekend, which would lock in a playoff spot, be it the No. 6 or No. 7 seed.
If all presumed favorites win in the wildcard round, it would set up a divisional showdown between the 49ers and the Eagles at Levi’s Stadium.
Of the potential playoff teams, it feels that the Eagles match up best with the 49ers personnel-wise, but they’ve been trending down heading into Week 18, and San Francisco dominated their previous matchup this season.
However, if the Rams or Packers upset their opponents, it would set up a matchup with either team at Levi’s Stadium, as they’d be the lowest seed still alive.
The 49ers have had the Rams’ number in the past, but San Francisco will be facing a Los Angeles team that is as hot as any other heading into the playoffs, working behind arguably the best quarterback in the NFC, Matthew Stafford.
Meanwhile, the Packers have also gotten hot in the second half, working behind young, ascending quarterback Jordan Love, and possessing one of the NFL’s best teams.
Which team would be the best matchup for the 49ers? Let us know in the comments below.