The 49ers missed an opportunity Monday night to give themselves wiggle room as the NFC's top playoff seed.
They lost to the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks 27-24 at Levi's Stadium, falling to 8-1 on the season. They couldn't strengthen their position in the driver's seat for the NFC's No. 1 spot, but they still control their own destiny.
With only one loss, the 49ers have a slight edge over the NFC's second and third seeds -- the Green Bay Packers (8-2) and New Orleans Saints (7-2). San Francisco plays both Green Bay (Week 12) and New Orleans (Week 14) down the stretch, and wins over both teams could be enough for the 49ers to lock up home-field advantage in the NFC bracket, assuming they take care of business against the remainder of their schedule.
Had the 49ers won Monday, they would've had two fewer losses than the Packers and the Saints. The Week 17 matchup with the Seahawks takes on extra importance now, as Seattle remains within striking distance of the top seed, too.
The 49ers haven't made the playoffs since 2013 and haven't been the NFC's top seed since 1997. But here's how the 2019 NFC playoff picture looks, assuming the season ended today.
- San Francisco 49ers (8-1)
- Green Bay Packers (8-2)
- New Orleans Saints (7-2)
- Dallas Cowboys (5-4)
- Seattle Seahawks (8-2)
- Minnesota Vikings (7-3)
As the top seed, the 49ers would play the lowest remaining team following wild-card weekend. That, assuming the playoff picture doesn't change between now and January, would ensure San Francisco hosts either a division champion (Cowboys), a team boasting NFL leading rusher Dalvin Cook (Vikings) or division rivals with revenge on their minds (Seahawks).
Even with a bye and home-field advantage, the 49ers would have a perilous playoff path to Super Bowl LIV in Miami.