NFL Playoffs

NFL playoff picture: Where 49ers stand in NFC after Seahawks' loss

NFL playoff picture: Where 49ers stand in NFC after Seahawks' loss

The 49ers earned a huge road win over the Saints to improve to 11-2, but that wasn't the end of their good news on Sunday.

Hours after San Francisco prevailed 48-46 in New Orleans, the 49ers' temporary place atop the NFC standings was solidified for at least the next week after the Rams defeated the Seahawks 28-12 in Los Angeles. With the loss, Seattle dropped to 10-3 on the season and fell out of the No. 1 overall seed in the conference.

The 49ers' win combined with the Seahawks' loss puts San Francisco in the driver's seat to win the NFC West, but with Seattle holding the tiebreaker, the division might come down to the Week 17 game between the two teams.

However, it is possible for San Francisco to clinch the division title before Week 17. That would require the 49ers to win each of their next two games against the Falcons and Rams -- both at home -- and the Seahawks to lose at least one of their next two. San Francisco would also clinch a first-round bye in that scenario.

Seattle travels to Carolina to face the sliding Panthers in Week 15 before returning home to host the Cardinals in Week 16. The Seahawks rightfully will be favored in each of those games -- just as the 49ers will be in theirs -- but crazier things have happened.

[RELATED: 49ers disappointed with lack of defensive execution in win]

Here's what the NFC playoff picture looks like heading into Giants-Eagles on Monday night:

  1. San Francisco 49ers (11-2)
  2. Green Bay Packers (10-3)
  3. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (6-7)
  5. Seattle Seahawks (10-3)
  6. Minnesota Vikings (9-4)

NFL playoff picture: Where 49ers stand in NFC after win vs. Saints

NFL playoff picture: Where 49ers stand in NFC after win vs. Saints

The 49ers avoided their first losing streak of the season Sunday, and (briefly) regained control of the NFC's top seed. 

San Francisco improved to 11-2, dropping the New Orleans Saints to 10-3 in a nail-biting, 48-46 win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The 49ers moved back into the NFC's No. 1 seed, and they could hang on to it if the Seattle Seahawks lose to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night. 

A Seahawks win at the LA Coliseum would drop the 49ers back into the No. 5 seed, but San Francisco would still be on a path towards earning home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs. Though the Seahawks currently hold the tiebreaker, the 49ers could win the NFC West -- and, likely, the NFC's top seed -- if they win in Seattle in Week 17 and hold a tiebreaker over the Seahawks. 

Those can get complicated, with records against the division, common opponents and/or conference possibly taken account into account. The 49ers have a win over the Saints while the Seahawks do not, but it'd still be easier for the 49ers to root for the Seahawks to slip up before a must-win Week 17. 

[RELATED: 49ers center Richburg carted off vs. Saints with injury]

Here's what the NFC playoff picture looks like following the conclusion of the 1 p,m. ET/10 a.m. PT games.

  1. San Francisco 49ers (11-2)
  2. Green Bay Packers (10-3)
  3. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (6-7)
  5. Seattle Seahawks (10-2)
  6. Minnesota Vikings (9-4)

NFL playoff picture: Raiders' path to grabbing No. 6 seed in AFC

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NFL playoff picture: Raiders' path to grabbing No. 6 seed in AFC

The Raiders were flying high two weeks ago, but they've come back down to Earth after back-to-back blowout losses to the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs. 

With those two Ls marked on the ledger, the Raiders now sit at 6-6 and have gone from the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs to the No. 8 spot with work to do. 

Jon Gruden's club enters Week 14 with just a seven percent chance of making the playoffs, but where there is a will there is a way. 

With four weeks remaining in the NFL season, let's take a look at exactly what the Raiders need to happen to make the playoffs for the second time since 2002. 

Week 14

First thing's first: The Raiders have to beat the Titans on Sunday at Oakland Coliseum.

With a win, the Silver and Black's playoff chances go from seven percent to 15 percent. A loss to Tennessee puts the Raiders' postseason chances at less than one percent. Not ideal. 

Now, elsewhere Sunday, the Raiders would prefer Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals do what Baker Mayfield and the Browns could not and beat Devlin Hodges and the Steelers. A Cardinals win jumps the Raiders' playoff chances to 24 percent while a Steelers win pushes them down to 11. Even if the Steelers win, a Ravens win over the Bills would slightly increase Oakland's chances to 14 percent.

So a Raiders win, and losses by the Steelers and Bills for good measure would help. 

Assuming wins by the Texans, Colts, Browns, Patriots, Chargers and Ravens, the Raiders would exit Week 14 with a 16 percent chance to make the dance. 

Week 15

Once again in Week 15, the Raiders need to beat Gardiner Minshew and the Jags or else their playoff hopes plummet to six percent. With a win, they rise back up to 24 percent absent the other Week 15 games. 

A win by the Texans over the Titans, the Bills over the Steelers and the Saints over the Colts would see the Raiders head into the final two weeks with a 21 percent chance to make the playoffs. Getting better. 

Week 16

If the Raiders can go to LA in Week 16 and beat the Bolts, their playoff percentage jumps to 47 percent. A loss takes it down to 11 and almost certainly ends their season. 

A Ravens win over the Browns would jump the Raiders' percentage even further to 55 percent. Then, if the Jets can do to the Steelers what they did to the Raiders and deliver a loss to Pittsburgh, Oakland's playoff chances would sit at 86 percent. A Steelers win over the Jets drops them back to 27 percent. 

Even if the Steelers beat the Jets, the Raiders will not be dead. Wins by the Saints, Patriots and Ravens would take their chances up to 36 percent heading into the final week. A Steelers loss to the Jets would put them in the driver's seat. 

[RELATED: Is Justin Herbert future of Raiders?]

Week 17

Assuming the Steelers enter Week 17 having lost one of their last three games (vs. Cardinals, Bills, Jets), the Raiders would need to beat Drew Lock and the Broncos and then hope Lamar Jackson and the Ravens can knock off the Steelers. 

If the Steelers win, Oakland would need the Jets to beat the Bills (assuming Buffalo has lost two of three to New England, Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the previous three weeks). That would put Pittsburgh in the No. 5 seed and Oakland in the sixth, sending the Bills to do draft prep. 

All of this, as you have probably noticed, relies on a banged-up Raiders team beating Ryan Tannehill, Gardiner Minshew, Philip Rivers/Tyrod Taylor and Drew Lock. It's doable, but it won't be easy. 

Oakland needs to rack up the Ws and hope the Ls come for the Steelers, Bills and Titans down the stretch.