49ers' Rooting Guide for NFL Playoff Implications of Week 12
The San Francisco 49ers have elevated themselves into the upper echelon of NFC playoff contenders over the last few weeks.
San Francisco comes into Week 12 with the lead in the NFC West and the No. 3 overall seed in the conference standings.
Kyle Shanahan's team is expected to win on Sunday versus the New Orleans Saints. A move to 7-4 would set up the 49ers nicely for a three-game stretch against Miami, Tampa Bay and Seattle.
The 49ers can't move up in the NFC standings this week, or in the next two weeks, because they are three wins behind Philadelphia and Minnesota in the win column.
Since reaching the Eagles and Vikings seems unrealistic right now, the 49ers should root for the teams around them to lose to make sure they can at least land the No. 3 seed in the NFC.
Raiders over Seahawks
The 49ers need the Seattle Seahawks to lose to gain separation on top of the NFC West.
San Francisco owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seahawks going into Week 12. The two sides will meet again in Week 15.
The 49ers would love to have a buffer between them and the Seahawks heading into that matchup just in case the Seahawks win that game.
Seattle is at home on Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders, who have played better offensively in the last two games.
Las Vegas has a tendency for blowing leads, and that could hurt the 49ers if that pops up once again in Week 12.
Seattle is 3-1 inside its home stadium, and it is well-rested coming off the bye, so the chances of it losing seem slim.
However, the Seahawks could come out of the bye sluggish and fail to properly deal with Davante Adams. That could put Seattle in a tough spot at halftime.
Relying on Las Vegas to hold a lead is almost an impossible ask given how this season has gone, but the 49ers should at least root for the Raiders to see if they can give them some help in the division standings.
Browns over Buccaneers
San Francisco holds a one-game edge on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 49ers can create even more separation with a win at home over the Bucs in Week 14.
San Francisco may not have to worry about that being in play in two weeks if it keeps winning and Tampa Bay slips up between now and then.
A Cleveland Browns home victory on Sunday seems unlikely, but the AFC North side could use a heavy dose of Nick Chubb to wear down the Tampa Bay defense.
Just like Seattle, Tampa Bay is coming off a bye following its game in Munich two weeks ago. That could lead to the Bucs being a bit sluggish from the start.
Tampa Bay's offense only scored 37 points in its last two games. There is a chance the Bucs struggle to score touchdowns again and let the Browns hang around.
Cleveland can get ahead through Chubb and Amari Cooper, and if it can move the ball all game long, the Bucs could have a tough time coming back from a deficit.
A Cleveland win combined with a San Francisco victory would give the 49ers a two-game edge on any NFC South team in the loss column.
Falcons over Commanders
The Atlanta Falcons and Washington Commanders face off in a huge matchup for the NFC wild-card standings.
San Francisco leads Washington by a half-game and is in front of Atlanta by 1.5 games. As long as the 49ers lead the division, they will not have to worry about either side.
An Atlanta win makes more sense from a San Francisco viewpoint, even if the Falcons own a head-to-head win over the 49ers.
The Falcons are further behind the 49ers in the NFC standings, and they have a difficult finish to the regular season that includes games against Tampa Bay and the Baltimore Ravens.
Atlanta could work itself out of the playoff picture with losses in the future, so it makes sense to root for the Falcons to bring down the Commanders.
San Francisco can finish off the Washington threat with a head-to-head victory in Week 16, but it never hurts to have teams with multiple losses more than you as the playoff hunt heats up.