49ers' Rooting Guide for NFL Playoff Implications of Week 12
The San Francisco 49ers come into Week 12 in a favorable position in the crowded NFC wild-card race.
The 5-5 49ers enter Sunday as the No. 7 seed on the wrong side of a conference-record tiebreaker with the Minnesota Vikings. But Kyle Shanahan's team can change that order Sunday afternoon since it plays host to the NFC North side.
If the 49ers take care of the Vikings at Levi's Stadium, they will be guaranteed of the No. 6 seed going into Week 13.
The five teams directly beneath the 49ers and Vikings all have six losses. The Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints are all 5-6. The Washington Football Team and Atlanta Falcons are 4-6.
San Francisco should also keep the 7-3 Los Angeles Rams on its radar. The Rams visit the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, and a loss could drop them to one game ahead of the 49ers.
Packers over Rams
The top four seeds in the NFC are likely out of reach for the 49ers.
Unless the 49ers win out and the Arizona Cardinals go on a losing streak, the NFC West title will be hard to attain.
If the Niners are stuck in the wild-card race, they would prefer to have three spots up for grabs instead of two.
The Los Angeles Rams own a two-game advantage over the Vikings and 49ers, but a loss in Green Bay by Sean McVay's team can change the complexion of the wild-card hunt.
San Francisco has won three of its past four games and holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams. Their second meeting comes in Week 18.
If the Niners win and get some help from the Packers, there would be one game between the NFC West rivals in the hunt for the No. 5 seed.
The Rams still have to go on the road to face the Cardinals, Vikings and Baltimore Ravens before hosting San Francisco in Week 18.
If the Niners close the gap in Week 12, they could gain the upper hand in the wild-card race by the time they visit SoFi Stadium on January 9.
Giants over Eagles
The next result the 49ers need is unlikely to happen.
The Philadelphia Eagles come into Week 12 with three wins in their past four games. They also have one of the most favorable season-ending schedules.
San Francisco needs an upset or two along the way to keep the Eagles at a safe distance in the wild-card race.
Philadelphia plays the New York Giants and New York Jets in consecutive weeks, and then it plays four straight NFC East games out of its Week 14 bye. Only one of those clashes is with the Dallas Cowboys.
San Francisco owns a head-to-head win over the Eagles from Week 2, but that might not matter if the Eagles get on a roll and finish above the 49ers in the win column. Any loss by the Eagles would be welcomed by the 49ers at this time of the season, and it does not matter if it comes against a three-win team or a division leader.
Dolphins over Panthers
The list of meaningful games to the 49ers' wild-card hopes is smaller than in previous weeks because they play the Vikings and the New Orleans Saints lost to the Buffalo Bills on Thursday.
The Carolina Panthers sit two spots behind the 49ers with one more loss. San Francisco would love to see the Panthers suffer another defeat to drop them further in the NFC standings. And a loss to the Miami Dolphins is not as unrealistic as it sounded a few weeks ago given Miami is on a three-game winning streak.
The Dolphins downed the Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets in consecutive games to get to 4-7, and they have an outside chance to land a playoff berth in the AFC. Miami needs to keep winning and get help from a handful of spots to do so, but the postseason dream is not dead with the extra wild-card spot in place.
A loss Sunday could bury Carolina's playoff hopes since it still has to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers twice in the final three weeks.
The 49ers might not have to wait until Week 16 for the Panthers' playoff hopes to go downhill if the Dolphins continue their winning run at home.