Surprise, surprise. The NFL finally revealed the worst-kept secret in the league over the past week.
The much-anticipated Week 17 game between the 49ers and the Seahawks -- originally scheduled for 1:25 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 29, in Seattle -- has been flexed to NBC's "Sunday Night Football" and now will kick off at 5:20 p.m.
The reason for flexing the game is because of its sheer importance. The winner will claim the NFC West title, and the loser will be relegated to a wild-card spot.
Should San Francisco prove victorious, it would claim the No. 1 overall seed in the conference, whereas a Seattle win would guarantee the Seahawks finish no lower than the No. 3 seed, depending on the outcome of other games. The top two overall seeds in each conference receive a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The 49ers have had a taste of playoff intensity over the second half of the season, including their last-second win over the Rams in Week 16. That was the sixth of San Francisco's most recent eight games to be decided by a single score, including a 27-24 overtime loss to the Seahawks at Levi's Stadium in Week 10.
The rematch, of course, will take place at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, where the 49ers haven't won since 2011. If they're going to secure a much-needed first-round bye, they'll have to exorcise some of their demons in the process.