The San Francisco 49ers loss to the Baltimore Ravens, combined with both the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks winning in Week 13, means the 2019 NFL playoffs see quite some shakeups.
The San Francisco 49ers received zero help from either the Atlanta Falcons or the Minnesota Vikings in Week 13. And following the Niners’ 20-17 road loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad now finds itself the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoff picture after sitting atop the conference all season up until this point.
The New Orleans Saints, who now own the No. 1 seed in the NFC, beat the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football, while the Seattle Seahawks outlasted the Vikings on Monday Night Football.
As such, the NFC standings are as follows:
- New Orleans Saints (10-2)*
- Seattle Seahawks (10-2)*
- Green Bay Packers (9-3)*
- Dallas Cowboys (6-6)*
- San Francisco 49ers (10-2)
- Minnesota Vikings (8-4)
* denotes division leader
If the playoffs were to start this upcoming week, the Niners would visit the Cowboys, who sneak into the postseason picture solely because of their hold on the Weak NFC East.
But the playoffs don’t start this week, and there are more than a number of crucial games for Shanahan and Co. down the stretch.
Although it’s still crazy how San Francisco finds itself in this spot despite being one of the more dominant teams in the league through 13 weeks.
It’s possible the 49ers have to win out their remaining four games to regain control of both the NFC top seed and NFC West, which belong to the Saints and Seahawks, respectively.
And that’ll kick off in Week 14 with a tough road bout against the Saints in New Orleans:
- Week 14 @ Saints
- Week 15 vs. Falcons
- Week 16 vs. Rams
- Week 17 @ Seahawks
The three-win Falcons figure to be the easiest of the remaining four games, while the 7-5 Rams are currently sitting outside the playoff picture, looking in. It’s possible they’re eliminated from playoff contention by the time they visit San Francisco, yet the spoiler role doesn’t disappear from this NFC West rival.
New Orleans, meanwhile, has a couple of tough bouts following its matchup with the Niners, hosting the 6-6 Indianapolis Colts before traveling to take on the 7-5 Tennessee Titans, as both of those two teams are vying for control of the hotly contested AFC South.
All eyes are going to be on the Seahawks, though, who currently own the tiebreaker over San Francisco after their Week 10 overtime win at Levi’s Stadium.
Seattle’s win over the Vikings was arguably the toughest challenge head coach Pete Carroll and Co. have until wrapping up the regular season at home against the Niners. Between now and then, the Seahawks visit the Rams and the 5-7 Carolina Panthers before hosting the 3-8-1 Arizona Cardinals in Week 16.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see Seattle win out over that stretch, making Week 17 against the 49ers a crucial matchup to likely determine the NFC West winner and one of the top two squads in the conference.