49ers

NFL playoff scenarios: Why 49ers would rather not clinch spot in Week 14

NFL playoff scenarios: Why 49ers would rather not clinch spot in Week 14

The 49ers can clinch an NFC playoff spot on Sunday with a victory over the New Orleans Saints.

But the 49ers and their fans will be rooting against the other part of the scenario in which the organization can officially guarantee a playoff berth for the first time since the 2013 season.

If the 49ers (10-2) win at the Saints (10-2), they need a Los Angeles Rams loss or tie to break their playoff drought by the end of Week 14.

However, because the Rams (7-5) are playing the Seattle Seahawks (10-2), it is a greater benefit to the 49ers if the Rams can knock off the Seahawks on "Sunday Night Football." (The perfect scenario for the 49ers would probably be a Rams-Seahawks tie, but that might be a little too far-fetched, since there has been only one tie game in the NFL this season.)

With the 49ers’ loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 13 and the Seahawks’ win over the Minnesota Vikings, the Seahawks moved into the top spot in the NFC West standings based on their head-to-head win at Levi’s Stadium on Nov. 11. The Seahawks beat the 49ers, 27-24, in overtime.

The 49ers’ remaining games after Week 14 are at Levi’s Stadium against Atlanta and the Rams, and at Seattle. Remaining on the Seahawks’ schedule after this week are games at Carolina, and at home against Arizona and the 49ers.

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The 49ers have reason for optimism that the two-time defending NFC West champion Rams can defeat the Seahawks on Sunday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

In the first meeting between the two teams this season, Seattle held on to a 30-29 home victory on Oct. 3, when Los Angeles kicker Greg Zuerlein missed wide right on a 44-yard field-goal attempt with 15 seconds remaining in the game.

The Saints, who have already sewn up the NFC South, are the only team in the NFC to wrap up a playoff spot. The Saints, 49ers and Seahawks are battling for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

49ers-Packers odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks in NFL playoff game

49ers-Packers odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks in NFL playoff game

With the 49ers' Week 12 thrashing of the Packers in mind, Vegas oddsmakers have made San Francisco heavy favorites over Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.

Back on Nov. 24, the 49ers took it to Aaron Rodgers and Co., beating the Packers 37-8.

But Sunday's game at Levi's Stadium isn't setting up to be as easy for the 49ers. The Packers are rolling, having won six straight games dating back to the regular season.

Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and he will want to avenge that 29-point drubbing from earlier in the season.

But the 49ers' defense is fully healthy with Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander and Jaquiski Tartt all ready to go for the NFC title game.

The winner gets a trip to Miami for Super Bowl LIV, where the winner of the Titans-Chiefs AFC Championship Game will await them.

It's going to be a classic under the bright lights in Santa Clara.

[RELATED: How to watch 49ers-Packers]

LINE

Caesars: 49ers -7.5 (-110)
Consensus: 49ers -7.5 (-110)
Westgate: 49ers -7.5 (-110)
Wynn: 49ers -7 (-120)

PREDICTIONS

Nick Wagoner, ESPN.com: 49ers 30, Packers 20
Rob Demovsky, ESPN.com: Packers 28, 49ers 27
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Packers 24, 49ers 21
Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk: 49ers 28, Packers 13
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: 49ers 30, Packers 26
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Packers 27, 49ers 26

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (6 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.

49ers vs. Packers live stream: How to watch NFL playoff game online, on TV

49ers vs. Packers live stream: How to watch NFL playoff game online, on TV

The 49ers have a golden opportunity to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 2013.

With a win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday at Levi's Stadium, the 49ers would head to Miami for Super Bowl LIV to take on the winner of the Titans-Chiefs AFC Championship Game.

San Francisco opened as seven-point favorites, but that number has risen to -7.5 in recent days.

Injuries hampered the 49ers for most of the season, but they will enter the game against the Packers with a clean bill of health. Similarly, the Packers only have one player listed on their injury report.

Back in Week 12, the 49ers thrashed the Packers, 37-8, in Santa Clara. But no one is expecting San Francisco to cakewalk over Green Bay this time.

In that Nov. 24 matchup, vaunted 49ers defense held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to 198 yards of total offense. Rodgers completed 20 of 33 passes for just 104 yards. San Francisco will need another performance like that if they want to play on Sunday, Feb. 2 in sunny Florida.

[RELATED: Five 49ers to watch vs. Packers]

Here's how to watch the 49ers-Packers NFC Championship Game:

When: Sunday, Jan. 19 at 6:40 p.m. ET/3:40 p.m. PT
TV: FOX
Stream: FoxSports.com

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (6 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.