49ers secure No. 1 seed in playoffs by beating Seahawks, earn first-round bye

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

After 17 weeks of the 2019 NFL season we now know where the San Francisco 49ers will play in the playoffs. With their 26-21 win over the Seattle Seahawks, the Niners are NFC West champions and they’ll have a bye in the first round. They’ll take on the lowest seeded winner in the NFC divisional round.

In the summer of 2019, nobody could have predicted the San Francisco 49ers making it to the playoffs. Many had them finishing with records of 8-8, 9-7 and some even said they’d win only three games and finish the season with a 3-13 record.

It was a year of proving the critiques wrong.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played in his first full season as a starter. He had a pretty spectacular season and proved to the NFL why the 49ers sent a second-round draft pick to New England for him back in 2017.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan enjoyed his first successful season as the man in charge in the Bay Area. He had to endure a couple of losing seasons to begin his tenure in San Francisco. But in the offseason, general manager John Lynch went out and signed some key players on defense and also made a mid-season trade for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, which helped boost the 49ers.

Rookie defensive lineman Nick Bosa enjoyed his first taste of NFL action by being selected to his first ever Pro Bowl. Obviously, he doesn’t want to be playing in the Pro Bowl this year, but it’s still quite an accomplishment for a rookie to be named a starter for the NFL’s version of an All-Star game.

Former Seattle Seahawk cornerback Richard Sherman, has quickly become a fan favorite in San Francisco. The veteran on defense has stabilized the 49ers secondary and even started the season with a couple of interceptions and a pick six.

Sherman was also selected to be in the Pro Bowl.

In all, four Niners have been named starters, while eight others were named alternates. Niner Noise’s Peter Panacy breaks down the selections a bit more here.

The successful season will continue into the year 2020, as the 49ers will be playing in the postseason for the first time since 2014.

Here’s who they’ll be matched up against:

First-round bye: Lowest winning NFC seeded team

With their thrilling 26-21 Week 17 win against the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers will have a first-round bye. They’ll host the lowest-seeded winning team coming out of Wild Card weekend. This is the first time San Francisco will host the divisional game since 2012, when they made their run to the Super Bowl. The only thing the Niners know is they’ll be the No. 1 seed and if they continue to win, they’ll have home-field advantage all the way through the playoffs.

If the Minnesota Vikings find a way to upset the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round, they’ll make a trip from the Big Easy to the Bay Area. The Vikings and Niners have each won 23 games against each other and have a tie to boot.

The last time they met was September of 2018, with the Vikings taking it 24-16.

Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins has had a pretty decent year. He’s thrown for 3,603 yards with 26 touchdowns coming into Week 17. The Vikings are in a tough NFC North division with the Green Bay Packers, who almost always find a way to win the division. (The Packers have a first-round bye.) Minnesota does give up a lot of points. The Vikings rank sixth in points against on defense with 282 heading into this weeks action.

Another scenario is having the Seahawks defeating the NFC East champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. If the Seahawks can make it out of Philly, and the Vikings lose to the Saints, the Seahawks will make yet another trip to Levi’s Stadium.

It’ll be the third matchup of the season between the two heated rivals.

The last time Seattle visited San Francisco, the Seahawks won in overtime on a last-second field goal. The last time these two teams played in the postseason was the infamous 2014 NFC Championship game. The Seahawks then went on to embarrass the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

In the rare occurrence the third and fourth seeds win their games, the  Eagles will make the trip across the country.

The 49ers don’t see much of the Eagles. They’ve only played each other 33 times, and the 49ers have 19 wins against those birds. In those 33 matchups, the Eagles have won 13 and the teams have tied once. The last time they met was back in October of 2017, with the Eagles winning in a blowout, 33-10.

Next. 3 ways 49ers slow down Seahawks Russell Wilson. dark

The NFC Divisional round will go Jan. 11 and 12 with a trip to the NFC Championship game on the line.