So far, so good for the 49ers.
San Francisco has yet to play in the playoffs as a result of receiving a first-round bye for being the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and yet, one could argue the Niners already have gotten some great results.
After seeing the New England Patriots' postseason run come to a surprisingly quick end Saturday, the 49ers saw another Super Bowl contender bite the dust in the wild-card round when the New Orleans Saints lost at home to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The Saints had the second-best Super Bowl odds in the conference behind only San Francisco, and now that threat has been vanquished.
And, it could get even better for the 49ers before the day is over.
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The Philadelphia Eagles host the Seattle Seahawks in the other NFC Wild Card Game on Sunday afternoon, and for multiple reasons, San Francisco likely would prefer for the home team to come out on top. For one, the Eagles are severely banged up, missing key players on both sides of the ball. But more importantly, they simply haven't proven themselves to be on the level of the 49ers this season, which the Seahawks have -- multiple times.
Yes, a third meeting between the 49ers and Seahawks -- which could now only occur in the NFC Championship Game -- certainly would offer the best storyline of the remaining possible matchups. But you know what storyline San Francisco would prefer?
Winning the Super Bowl.
And with the Seahawks out of their way, the 49ers would stand a better chance of getting there.
The Seattle Seahawks came inches (centimeters?) away from winning the NFC West. They didn't, and consequently have to travel across the country to play the Philadelphia Eagles in one of two NFC wild-card games on Sunday.
That was the reality the 49ers would have faced had they not beat the Seahawks in Seattle in Week 17 to claim the division title, the No. 1 seed in the conference and a first-round bye. As such, San Francisco will be resting up at home watching its longtime rival take on a beat-up Eagles squad that many would consider the weakest team in the NFC playoffs.
Unless the Minnesota Vikings go into New Orleans and beat the Saints in the other NFC wild-card game on Sunday, the 49ers will host the winner of the Seahawks-Eagles game in the divisional round at Levi's Stadium on Jan. 11. Seattle went into Lincoln Financial Field in Week 12 and beat Philly, 17-9.
Both regular-season games between San Francisco and Seattle were decided by razor-thin margins, but the Seahawks' victory did come at Levi's. Meanwhile, the Eagles limped their way to a 9-7 finish in the worst division in the NFL, and are without several key players lost to injury. So, the 49ers might have a preference as to who wins, but as the No. 1 seed with home-field advantage, they'll be confident going into the divisional round, no matter which team they face.
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Here's how you can watch Sunday's Eagles-Saints game online and on TV.
Start time: Sunday, Jan. 5, at 1:40 p.m. PT
TV Channel: NBC
Live Stream: NBC Sports App
The NFC playoff field is set, but seeding is still up for grabs.
The Philadelphia Eagles punched their ticket to the NFL playoffs with a 34-17 win over the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon at the Meadowlands, clinching the NFC East division and the No. 4 seed in the NFC. The Eagles join the 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings as the six teams battling to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LIV.
The 9-7 Eagles will play host to the No. 5 seeded wild-card team, who will be the loser of the 49ers-Seahawks clash on Sunday night. Although both San Francisco (12-3) and Seattle (11-4) will have a better record than Philadelphia, the Eagles still will have home-field advantage by virtue of winning their division.
Thus if the 49ers lose Sunday night in Seattle, the Seahawks will win the NFC West and the Niners will earn a date in Philadelphia in the wild-card round on Jan. 4 or 5. But if the 49ers beat the Seahawks, they will win the West, earn the NFC's No. 1 seed and a first-round bye, and will host their first playoff game since 2012 during the Divisional Round on Jan. 11 or 12.
In that scenario, the 49ers still could play the Eagles in Round 2. They would square off against the winner of the Eagles-Seahawks wild-card round game, unless the No. 6 seeded Vikings beat the No. 3 seed -- the Saints, in this hypothetical. If the Vikings were to go into New Orleans and take down Drew Brees and Co. in Round 1, the 49ers would welcome Minnesota to Levi's Stadium in Round 2.
Got all of that? Good.
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Regardless, we'll know a lot more after the 49ers-Seahawks "Sunday Night Football" clash that kicks off at 5:20 p.m.
Get your popcorn ready.