The San Francisco 49ers are at the ripe age of 18, just one game away from clinching a spot in their first ever playoff appearance. The Niners have been struggling as of late but they can clinch with an easy win over the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night.
The “49ers playoff picture 2021” is the final NFC wild card berth for the 49ers. The team will clinch it if they win their game against the Rams in Week 18 and the Vikings lose to the Bears. If Minnesota wins, then they will clinch a spot with a win or tie.
Even with the additional regular-season game coming in 2021, the San Francisco 49ers have come a long way since a 3-5 start threatened to terminate their season early.
The 49ers, though, rediscovered their stride in the second half of the season, thanks to a recommitment to a multi-faceted rushing approach, and enter Week 18 in command of the NFC’s last Wild Card slot.
The 49ers’ margin for error is razor-thin in their game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, even if they are in a “win and you’re in” situation. The 49ers might be eliminated from the playoffs if they lose against the Rams. Here are several postseason scenarios that may either put the 49ers in the playoffs or leave them scratching their heads as to what went wrong.
The 49ers have a straightforward mission: Defeat the Rams to secure the No. 6 seed.
Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images Elijah Mitchell
The 49ers are presently ranked No. 6 in the NFC, and would clinch that spot if they win the Rams on Sunday, based on their tiebreaker edge over the Eagles, who they defeated in Week 2. Although head coach Kyle Shanahan praised Trey Lance after his performance last Sunday, the club is still debating who will be their starting quarterback. Jimmy Garoppolo has been training.
The New Orleans Saints, who are now ninth in the NFC with an 8-8 record, are the only club capable of catching the 49ers. The Saints are eliminated if the 49ers win or draw against the Rams. If the Saints draw or lose, though, the 49ers clinch regardless of the result.
For the 49ers, this is the most easy case. Even if they win, they will remain in fifth place since they are two games behind No. 5-seed Arizona. The 49ers can’t finish lower than the Eagles because of their tiebreaker advantage, thus they’re locked into the No. 6 spot.
What happens if the 49ers lose to the Rams is where things become complicated for them.
After a setback to the Rams, the 49ers are at the mercy of the New Orleans Saints.
Because the Eagles defeated the Saints in Week 11, they possess the tiebreaker and can’t finish lower than them in the standings, therefore they’ve secured no worse than the NFC’s seventh seed.
If the 49ers lose to the Rams and the Saints defeat the Atlanta Falcons, leaving both teams at 9-7, the 49ers would lose the conference-record tiebreaker to the Saints. The 49ers would be the odd team out in that scenario, placing eighth in a seven-team competition.
If both the 49ers and the Saints lose, the 49ers will still be in the playoffs and might earn the No. 6 seed if the Eagles lose against the Cowboys as well.
The 49ers can only drop to No. 7 if they tie with the Rams and the Eagles defeat Dallas on Saturday, or if they lose to the Rams but the Saints lose (or tie) and the Eagles win.
The most probable Wild Card possibilities are a repeat with the Rams or a showdown with Tampa Bay.
Because the 49ers can only finish sixth or seventh in the conference, they can only face four teams in the first round, with a repeat against the Rams or a battle with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being the most probable possibilities.
The 49ers will meet the Rams again next week if they lose to the Rams but still make the playoffs as the No. 7 seed. If the 49ers win, together with the Eagles, Seahawks, and Buccaneers, or if the 49ers and Seahawks win, along with the Cowboys and Panthers, the Rams are the draw for the 3-6 game.
In three possibilities, the 49ers would face the Buccaneers in the 3-6 game: 49ers lose, Cowboys win, Saints win; 49ers win, Cardinals and Panthers win; or 49ers win, Eagles, Seahawks, and Panthers win.
The 49ers will face Dallas if they win over Dallas, Seattle, and Tampa Bay. The 49ers will face the Cardinals in the 3-6 game if they win and Arizona and Tampa Bay lose.
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The “49ers playoff chances 2021” is the final NFC Wild Card Berth. The 49ers will clinch the final spot in Week 18 if they win, and even if they lose, they’ll still have a chance to make it into the playoffs with a win in Week 17.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do the 49ers need to clinch?
A: The 49ers have to win their remaining games and hope the Vikings lose one more game.
Are the 49ers in the playoffs 2022?
A: Yes, the 49ers will be in the playoffs for 2022.
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