Skip to content

49ers can still earn home-field advantage, or miss the playoffs

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

The simple story about the 49ers is that if they beat the Falcons tonight, they’re in the playoffs.

The complex story is this: San Francisco’s postseason fortunes are nowhere close to being determined, and the 49ers could be anywhere from home-field advantage throughout the playoffs to out of the playoffs entirely.

San Francisco’s best-case scenario is this: The 49ers win tonight against the Falcons and beat the Cardinals on Sunday while the Seahawks lose to the Rams and the Panthers lose to the Falcons. In that (admittedly unlikely) scenario, the 49ers and Seahawks would be tied for the best record in the NFC, but the 49ers would win the NFC West based on the division record tiebreaker. That would make the 49ers the No. 1 seed and the Seahawks the No. 5 seed.

San Francisco’s worst-case scenario is this: The 49ers lose tonight against the Falcons and next week at Arizona. If that happens, the 49ers would be 10-6 and miss the playoffs altogether. If the 49ers lose both of their remaining games they miss the playoffs, no matter what happens in any other game.

The most likely scenario for the 49ers is that they beat the Falcons tonight to wrap up a playoff berth, but they lose any shot at the division title when the Seahawks take care of business next week at home against the Rams. The 49ers appear to be headed toward a wild card, but in this unpredictable NFL season, they may end up a lot better off than that, or a lot worse.

Permalink 55 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, San Francisco 49ers, Top Stories
55 Responses to “49ers can still earn home-field advantage, or miss the playoffs”
  1. schmitty2 says: Dec 23, 2013 11:15 AM

    “The most likely scenario for the 49ers is that they beat the Falcons tonight to wrap up a playoff berth, but they lose any shot at the division title when the Seahawks take care of business next week at home against the Rams. The 49ers appear to be headed toward a wild card, but in this unpredictable NFL season, they may end up a lot better off than that, or a lot worse.”

    Anything can happen on any given day. I wouldnt list anything as a “likely scenario” Wasn’t the Hawks beating the Cardinals yesterday a “likely scenario”? How did that work out?

  2. norseyapper says: Dec 23, 2013 11:18 AM

    A couple of years ago this division was so bad 8-8 would win it, now it is easily top to bottom the best division in the NFL.
    For all of us whose teams sucked this year, take heart because in the NFL things can change pretty quick.

  3. number1hawkfan says: Dec 23, 2013 11:22 AM

    To prove I’m not a troll like @thepftpoet and @logicalvoices here’s a “logical” assessment of my Seahawks. There’s a decent chance they could lose next week. We might have lost our left tackle and the last time we played the rams we had a hard time blocking there d line without our starters at the tackle position. Chances are we win but I wouldn’t put any money on it. If the niners win out things could go really wrong real quick for my hawks. Just an opinion from a real fan.
    #rid us of these trolls!!!

  4. mubbcsoc says: Dec 23, 2013 11:22 AM

    Meanwhile to miss the playoffs they would still have a better record than any team from the NFC east or north. NFC Best.

  5. dukeearl says: Dec 23, 2013 11:22 AM

    niner13,
    It is an “unlikely” scenario, I’d suggest not making too much noise until after tonight.

  6. redandgoldhitman52 says: Dec 23, 2013 11:27 AM

    might be better to keep the 5th seed and keep the hot streak going instead of the #1 seed being off for 2 weeks and losing momentum and losing

  7. sandersmarcus10 says: Dec 23, 2013 11:27 AM

    Play-offs are going to be good!

  8. sf69ers says: Dec 23, 2013 11:29 AM

    The Seahawks banged up offensive line are going to have their hands full with the Rams and Quinn. The 12th man maybe out of the playoffs.

  9. shutdaup says: Dec 23, 2013 11:33 AM

    play offs!!!’

  10. atthemurph says: Dec 23, 2013 11:34 AM

    Like most seasons any team that gets in the playoffs can win it. Get hot and get lucky and move on.

  11. nonetruerthanblue says: Dec 23, 2013 11:37 AM

    I love football

  12. wrm1230 says: Dec 23, 2013 11:37 AM

    Before you NFC West folks get too excited, that division has been the absolute WORST in the NFC, if not the NFL, for decades. Most of the past 20 years, it hasn’t even been competitive, in that one team was head and shoulders above the rest. Consistent drafting in the top 10 for several of the teams has only now allowed it to be as deep as it is.

    And before you blink, the window closes real quick and with arguably only 1 real franchise QB in the division (Russell Wilson….sorry Kaepernick lovers but it’s the truth), it’s more likely this is a blip on the radar rather than a long, sustained run by the NFC West.

  13. coolherc says: Dec 23, 2013 11:42 AM

    sf69ers says:
    Dec 23, 2013 11:29 AM

    The Seahawks banged up offensive line are going to have their hands full with the Rams and Quinn. The 12th man maybe out of the playoffs.

    —————————————————

    Except for the fact that they clinched a playoff berth weeks ago. Try keeping up with the rest of us, huh.

  14. justintuckrule says: Dec 23, 2013 11:44 AM

    Hope the Cards make it somehow. They’d be “Giants dangerous” if they snuck in.

  15. 1phd says: Dec 23, 2013 11:49 AM

    It would be truly amazing and yet not out of the question for the Seahawks to choke themselves out of the #1 seed at this point. Grab your popcorn.

  16. beastmode5150 says: Dec 23, 2013 11:49 AM

    I love that Seattle loses to a good team and everyone writes them off.

  17. jarodriguez1977 says: Dec 23, 2013 11:56 AM

    Dec 23, 2013 11:42 AM
    sf69ers says:
    Dec 23, 2013 11:29 AM

    The Seahawks banged up offensive line are going to have their hands full with the Rams and Quinn. The 12th man maybe out of the playoffs.

    —————————————————

    Except for the fact that they clinched a playoff berth weeks ago. Try keeping up with the rest of us, huh.

    ————————————

    Actually the Seahawks clinched a playoff berth weeks ago. Not the 12th man. If the Seahawks lose the division than the 12th man will be out of the playoffs as the Seahawks will not host a playoff game. All caught up now? Good.

  18. wwttww says: Dec 23, 2013 11:58 AM

    To Whomever,

    Just beat New Orleans in the playoffs.

    - signed Atlanta.

  19. thesportgenius says: Dec 23, 2013 11:59 AM

    @ wrm1230…All the NFCW teams are on the rise even the Rams after “Hershel Walkering” the Skins, Niners with 13 more picks in next years draft and a couple of red-shirt players from this year that will be added to an already loaded roster, Seahawks are young, talented and deep and have the ultimate home field advantage, Cards have a stout D and good HC to build on. In fact all teams have good coaches that know how to win and are physical on both sides of the ball. Definitely not going to be a blip on the radar.

  20. hawktawker says: Dec 23, 2013 11:59 AM

    Please, PLEASE underestimate the Seahawks!!!

  21. gosfvr says: Dec 23, 2013 12:03 PM

    beastmode5150 says:
    Dec 23, 2013 11:49 AM
    I love that Seattle loses to a good team and everyone writes them off.
    ——————————————–

    Did you really think Arizona was going to beat Seattle before last night?

    If so, could you please post the winning lotto numbers that you purchased at your local 7-11. It will confirm your legendary status as a seer.

  22. goldrush36 says: Dec 23, 2013 12:09 PM

    coolherc says:
    Dec 23, 2013 11:42 AM
    sf69ers says:
    Dec 23, 2013 11:29 AM

    The Seahawks banged up offensive line are going to have their hands full with the Rams and Quinn. The 12th man maybe out of the playoffs.

    —————————————————

    Except for the fact that they clinched a playoff berth weeks ago. Try keeping up with the rest of us, huh.
    _____________________________________

    Except for the fact Seattle hasn’t clinched homefield or even the division. He said the 12th man may be out…. Not the Seahawks. Try keeping up with the rest of us huh.

  23. justintuckrule says: Dec 23, 2013 12:14 PM

    @gosfvr – no lie….I cleaned up on taking AZ and NYG on the money line yesterday. Seattle hasn’t been all that impressive for awhile now. AZ has the magical fairy dust right now and is the scariest NFC team heading into the playoffs (if they make it). Det is, well…they are Det. NYG’s manhood was challenged. It was all right there in front of you for big upsets.

  24. jeffesky says: Dec 23, 2013 12:16 PM

    Boy i dont know about my Hawks RW looked terrible. its wide open as is always the case in the NFL. I knew we were in trouble as soon as we got crowned. This leads to predicting the Hawks in shambles with a Rams team that may put it on em this Sunday. If so its just the norm for Seattle sports.

  25. thereisfootballwestofjersey says: Dec 23, 2013 12:21 PM

    This game will be over 10 minutes in. Blood is already in the water. Ahmed Brooks and Aldon will be unblockable tonight. It’s already over.

    I mean, they’re introducing Willie Mays to the crowd in pre-game. You don’t lose when Willie is in the house!

    Ryan gets sacked 6 times. Niners 44-7

  26. paythevig says: Dec 23, 2013 12:22 PM

    wrm1230 says:
    Dec 23, 2013 11:37 AM
    Before you NFC West folks get too excited, that division has been the absolute WORST in the NFC, if not the NFL, for decades. Most of the past 20 years, it hasn’t even been competitive, in that one team was head and shoulders above the rest. Consistent drafting in the top 10 for several of the teams has only now allowed it to be as deep as it is.
    _______________

    The same can be said for every division, so what’s your point? If you include the 2002 season – the NFC West has sent all 4 teams to the super bowl. Granted, none from the west have won since the Rams, but the beat out the rest of the NFC for the Super Bowl should speak Volumes.

    When’s the last time the following teams have been to the super bowl?

    Detroit, Minnesota, Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Washington, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Houston, Cleveland, Cincy, NYJ, Buffalo, Miami, Denver, San Diego, Oakland, Kansas City?

    None of those teams have been to the Super Bowl in over 20 years – many of which have been drafting in the top 20.. Just because the NFC West doesn’t get the glorified media hype like some other divisions doesn’t make it a flash in the pan. What did that 7-9 seattle team do to the mighty saints in that wild card round? Nothing but an earth quake and a beat down. This division is built on a foundation of defense and smash mouth style. All the teams are led successfully and have a great young core.

  27. cobaltdriver says: Dec 23, 2013 12:24 PM

    To prove I’m not a troll like @thepftpoet and @logicalvoices here’s a “logical” assessment of my Seahawks. There’s a decent chance they could lose next week. We might have lost our left tackle and the last time we played the rams we had a hard time blocking there d line without our starters at the tackle position. Chances are we win but I wouldn’t put any money on it. If the niners win out things could go really wrong real quick for my hawks. Just an opinion from a real fan.
    #rid us of these trolls!!!

    The NFC west is best in the NFC bar none…..the South is getting interesting,the East and the North seems no one wanted them so the football gods are giving us two old fashioned battles, Cowboys-Eagles,Bears-Packers. It will suck if the Cards or Niners can’t get in and one of these teams do ( Bear fan here,they don’t deserve it,not with this D). I think your Hawks are still the team to beat..they needed a wake up call..now it’s roll time! And yes..I agree,let’s get rid of the trolls.

  28. norcalmafia says: Dec 23, 2013 12:25 PM

    Well here comes the overreactions..The Seahawks are still a damn good team and my Niners are still gonna have to end up going up there to beat them..Tough task as we havent done it since Kap has been our starter.The one thing I will say is dont sleep on the Niners, were healthier then weve ever been an any playoff run and with Crab back were starting to see the Kapernick from last year again.

  29. mrwalterisgod says: Dec 23, 2013 12:26 PM

    Meh. Same thing happened to SF last year as I recall. They came to Seattle and got ROLLED and had to win at home in week 17 to clinch the 2 seed.

    Seattle will do the same thing, except we’ll actually win the Super Bowl.

    #LovetheNinertears.

  30. bigbluenationdb says: Dec 23, 2013 12:32 PM

    What is sad is the NFC West could have 3 teams finish with at least 10 wins and only two teams get into the playoffs but yet there is potential for two teams with only 9 wins get in.

    Two 10+ win teams will have to travel to teams with worse records. Instead of expanding the playoffs, the Commissioner should try fixing the playoff structure.

  31. cunninghampeetemcnabbvick says: Dec 23, 2013 12:33 PM

    mubbcsoc says:
    Dec 23, 2013 11:22 AM
    Meanwhile to miss the playoffs they would still have a better record than any team from the NFC east or north. NFC Best.

    —————————————————-

    I suck at math too, but if the 49ers fail to make the playoffs and the Eagles win the NFC East they will both be 10-6.

  32. jburk003 says: Dec 23, 2013 12:35 PM

    I think it is HILARIOUS reading all these comments saying “Did you really think AZ would beat SEA???”

    Well, yes, actually I did. In fact, I have a text message on my cell-phone time stamped yesterday @ 1:00 pm to my brother in law stating “upset city for Seattle, gives SF a chance to clinch home field next week”.

    Seattle is overrated. Russell Wilson is NOT that good. He’s had 5-6 games this year where he has looked so overrated. The kid can’t throw the ball unless he is scrambling outside the pocket.

    The 49ers are NOT losing in their last home game at the stick.

    Oh, and for those of you trying to come at me for saying that Russell Wilson is trash- PLEASE do not respond unelss you include explanations for his games against:

    Panthers, Texans, Titans, Buccaneers, Rams, 49ers, Cardinals.

    Upon you clowns checking these stats, I rest my case. I hope Seattle fans don’t put too much faith in their QB. Just check out the stats in those games. 5 of those games are NOT EVEN AGAINST PLAYOFF TEAMS!! woooow.

    Without the best defense in the league, Russell Wilson is a mediocre QB at best. One of the most laughable things from the NFL this year (besides the officiating) was when Russel Wilson was being talked about for MVP. HAHAHA.

    All it took was an away game at Candlestick vs. the 49ers to evaporate all that nonsense.

  33. jburk003 says: Dec 23, 2013 12:38 PM

    I think the NFL should say screw divisions and allow the best 8 teams from each conference to go.

    Why should a garbage team be allowed to go to the playoffs, just because they won their division.

    We’ve seen it all before. 8-8 teams making playoffs, when a 10-6 team stays home. How is that fair??

    Just because one team plays 3 garbage teams twice a year they get to make the playoffs??

  34. joe6packabs says: Dec 23, 2013 12:56 PM

    “When’s the last time the following teams have been to the super bowl?
    Detroit, Minnesota, Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Washington, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Houston, Cleveland, Cincy, NYJ, Buffalo, Miami, Denver, San Diego, Oakland, Kansas City?
    None of those teams have been to the Super Bowl in over 20 years”

    The fact is 9 of those teams have been to the SuperBowl in the last 20 years.

    Also, wrm1230, you said that Kaepernick is not a franchise qb and “that’s the truth”? Really? I can think of a dozen teams that would trade their QB for Kaepernick heads up without blinking, including Dallas, KC, NYJ, Houston, Oakland, Minnesota, Chicago, and Miami.

    Keep it real guys!!

  35. chrisco716 says: Dec 23, 2013 1:01 PM

    Most likely Seattle finishes 12-4, San Francisco finishes 11-5 and Arizona finishes 11-5. Sadly, if it runs true to form, Arizona will not make the playoffs despite worse teams with worse records moving on. New Orleans is fortunate to play at home next week otherwise odds would favor Arizona getting in. Highly unlikely San Francisco loses to Atlanta tonight at the Stick. 49′ers should clinch a playoff spot tonight. So more likely than not, Arizona… playing as well as anybody… with one of the best won-loss records in the league… is done.

  36. niner13 says: Dec 23, 2013 1:11 PM

    Seattle: Can you hear the footsteps?

  37. beastmode5150 says: Dec 23, 2013 1:12 PM

    Russel Wilson isn’t good, just has more touchdowns than Peyton manning and dan Marino their first two years. Yeah, he’s horrible. Good god people, he had a bad game vs a stud defense and the hawks lost a game, oh well. Last I checked, they were still 12-3

  38. cunninghampeetemcnabbvick says: Dec 23, 2013 1:34 PM

    I think some of you are missing the point of the NFL season. It’s to win your division. That’s why they give out Divisional championships. There are only 4 playoff teams per conference. You get those spots by winning your division. Your team has a better record but isn’t in the playoffs? You didn’t win your division. This is how the NFL works. You can cry all you want, but fact of the matter is you know when the season starts you only have to be better then 3 teams in your division and you failed to do that. Luckily for you, there is still a wildcard spot available. Notice it is called wildcard for a reason.

  39. sasquatchery says: Dec 23, 2013 1:55 PM

    May I represent every Cardinals fan in the universe:

    GO FALCONS!

  40. cornerstone2001 says: Dec 23, 2013 2:17 PM

    Niners win out to finish 12-4

    No one wants any part of the Niners in the playoffs. Especially the Shehawks

  41. cornerstone2001 says: Dec 23, 2013 2:17 PM

    …all teams from the NFC east and north should just be eliminated from the playoffs.

  42. chawk12thman says: Dec 23, 2013 2:18 PM

    99% chance they win tonight and are in…….Maybe 1% better than that, even.

  43. justintuckrule says: Dec 23, 2013 2:33 PM

    Rest assured Cards’ fans. The Saints will lose.

  44. jimbo75025 says: Dec 23, 2013 2:34 PM

    beastmode5150 says: Dec 23, 2013 1:12 PM

    Russel Wilson isn’t good, just has more touchdowns than Peyton manning and dan Marino their first two years. Yeah, he’s horrible.
    ——–

    I have no dog in the Russell Wilson debate, but comparing todays NFL rules to the ones when Marino or even Manning came in is foolish.

    Face it, Marino put up those numbers almost 30 years ago when DBs could mug a receiver.

  45. 64post says: Dec 23, 2013 2:59 PM

    beastmode5150 says:
    Dec 23, 2013 11:49 AM
    I love that Seattle loses to a good team and everyone writes them off.

    That’s 2 in 2 weeks, not a good sign when you’re headed to the post season, just saying.

  46. mf1849 says: Dec 23, 2013 3:01 PM

    I wasn’t surprised Arizona beat my Hawks. We were flat from the get go on Offense and our D kept us in the game as long as they could. Wilson is a great quarterback but there is still a maturation process that any NFL player has to go through. Stumbling into the playoffs is the worst way to end the season short of not making the post season at all. I will note this; in all three losses Seattle had the opportunity to win the game. The combined total of Seattle’s losses is 15 points. Show me another team that has kept it closer. Go HAWKS!

  47. kingpel says: Dec 23, 2013 3:03 PM

    When week division leader hosts a playoff game against a wildcard team with a superior record I say they need to suck it up. Division winner gets the homefield.

    But to have an 11-5 team miss the playoffs altogether kind of sucks . I cant recall a team with that good a record ever missing the playoffs in recent memory.

    Anyone?

  48. qwerty007qwerty007 says: Dec 23, 2013 3:16 PM

    All I want for Christmas is a Harbaugh-less playoffs…

  49. ballhawkers12s says: Dec 23, 2013 3:38 PM

    Russell wilson is good any team that had 4 starters on the oline out for all of the above games that you listed would have the same problem. He has the 3rd best qb rating for the year so how is he garbage. Also his smartness and work ethic are unmeasurable things. He is similar to manning in the regards to he elevates everyone else on the team.

  50. chrisco716 says: Dec 23, 2013 4:13 PM

    Let’s see… Coach Smarmy, who has mastered the art of insincerity, left his perennially powerful college team in shambles which continues to this day after all the NCAA sanctions. Meanwhile he jumped to the League just ahead of the train wreck and now has lots of PED/discipline issues. Should we be surprised? Meanwhile Coach Whiny took on an impossible job and built a college powerhouse out of a perennial doormat… without a whiff of impropriety… which remains a powerhouse to this day. And he plays by the rules in the League. You might like Smarmy but no sensible person could respect him. You might dislike Whiny but he has earned the respect of sensible fans.

  51. griblets says: Dec 23, 2013 4:33 PM

    @kingpel:

    But to have an 11-5 team miss the playoffs altogether kind of sucks . I cant recall a team with that good a record ever missing the playoffs in recent memory.

    Anyone?

    —————————-

    2008 Patriots were 11-5 and missed the playoffs.

  52. beastmode5150 says: Dec 23, 2013 4:45 PM

    So which is it, hawks had too many wins and 1 seeds never win the Super Bowl, teams that win the Super Bowl usually have losses in December, or the hawks have a couple of stinkers and still get one seed, but aren’t hot coming in so they are done? I hear both from the same people. Can’t win for losing around here…

  53. meatheadsmakemelaugh says: Dec 23, 2013 4:58 PM

    If the Cards get in, they are one team that no one, I mean no one would want to play.

    They will beat the 49ers next week, playoff chance or not.

    The first round of playoffs for ether the 49ers or the cards will be a layup, maybe even like a mini bye.

  54. juliusanonymous says: Dec 23, 2013 5:50 PM

    Russell Wilson is overrated… Russell Wilson is garbage… Seahawks are soft… LOL.

    If any of that was true, you 49ers fans watching your team fight for a wild-card spot wouldn’t be hating, you’d be bragging about your sealed division championship like you were last season.

    Nobody in Seattle took that game as a gimme. It doesn’t matter what the media analysts say because they don’t know anything, they don’t watch these teams. Everyone in Seattle knew that game was going to be the hardest one we played at home all season, and it was. Tons of respect to them, they won a difficult game.

    The Cardinals are a strong team with a fierce defense, and they’re better than San Francisco. Last I checked, the 49ers got destroyed last time they came here, it wasn’t even close.

    49ers fans would be wise to keep the trash-talk to yourself until you actually beat the Cardinals. Then, go ahead and come on up to Seattle so the 12th Man can enjoy your tears and your moaning about Superbowl trophies from the 1980′s as you mope and shuffle out of the Clink.

  55. delusionalcardsfan says: Dec 23, 2013 9:28 PM

    Tonight every Cards fan in AZ has traded our red feathers for black. GO FALCONS!!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!