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.
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.