With two weeks remaining in the 2012 NFL season, the Packers (10-4) sit third overall in the NFC, while the 49ers (10-3-1) hold the second seed. The Atlanta Falcons sit first overall and are just a win away from clinching home-field throughout the playoffs.
The Packers are on fire, having won eight of their last nine games. The 49ers have gone 6-2-1 over that stretch, which includes a huge road win against the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.
The question is, will the 49ers hold on and secure a first-round bye or will the Packers take the No. 2 seed in the NFC?
The Packers will host the Tennessee Titans (5-9) in Week 16 and visit the Minnesota Vikings (8-6) to finish the season. The 49ers will go on the road to play the Seattle Seahawks (9-5) and face the Arizona Cardinals (5-9) at home in Week 17.
Assuming the Falcons clinch first, the Packers need to win out and hope the 49ers lose a game in order to move up. Although it’s extremely unlikely, if the Packers were to tie a game and finish with the same record as the 49ers, San Francisco would take the second seed because of their Week 1 win over Green Bay.
Of the four remaining games, the key matchup is the 49ers divisional showdown with the Seahawks this week.
This should be a close game, as it was in Week 7 when the 49ers beat the Seahawks 13-6. Frank Gore played a crucial role, rushing for 131 yards and adding 51 receiving yards. Russell Wilson and Alex Smith both passed for less than 150 yards and each threw one interception.
If the 49ers can come away with a win in Seattle, they would all but lock up the No. 2 seed. San Francisco should have no problem shutting down the Cardinals at home, a team they blew out 24-3 on the road in Week 8.
However, if the 49ers lose, the pressure will be on the Packers. An extra week off would be a huge benefit for Green Bay considering the number of injuries they’re dealing with.
The Packers should get by the Titans on Sunday, with Tennessee working on a short week after barely hanging on to beat the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. With that said, Green Bay will face a tougher test when they travel to Minnesota in Week 17.
The Vikings could be fighting for a playoff spot and regardless, Adrian Peterson will be going all out to try to top the 2,000-yard mark and possibly break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. In their previous meeting in Week 13, Peterson racked up 210 yards, but the Packers won 23-14.
The Seahawks beat the 49ers in a great game that is decided in the final minutes and the Packers hold on to win in Minnesota, despite a remarkable performance by Adrian Peterson.
The Packers finish 12-4 and take the second seed, while the 49ers fall to the third with a record of 11-4-1.