No. 5: Win out and clinch the No. 1 seed
Of course if the complicated tiebreaker jargon isn’t for you, the 49ers could just win the rest of their games and clinch the No. 1 seed instead.
It isn’t very complicated, it’s essentially a No. 1 seed version of “win and you’re in”.
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The Niners share a conference-best 10-2 record with the Saints and Seahawks. Walk into their stadiums as equals and walk out as the winners, and you have the top seed.
It seems almost disgustedly simple for something that’s actually rather hard, especially with tough road games against the Falcons and Rams that would be itching to trip someone up, but those are the facts.
The 49ers at least have belief they can do it. They already swept aside a potential rival for the No. 1 seed in the Packers, and their only losses are literal last-second field goals against two teams sitting in the No. 1 seed where they were well and truly in the game.
Also encouragingly for the 49ers, the Saints have not been impressive at home their last two games there. They lost to the Falcons and were only a missed chip-shot field goal away from losing to the Panthers as well, which was a win for the Saints that was not impressive to say the least.
They do have a chance to knock the Saints off, who are looking very sketchy at the moment defending their stadium.
If they do beat the Saints, then the path to getting that No. 1 seed and the ideal playoff scenario looks a lot clearer.