The San Francisco 49ers will face the No. 6-seeded Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round. Does this mean their path to Super Bowl LIV got a bit easier?
Wild Card Weekend in the NFL playoffs was spectacular. All the games were close and three road teams ended up advancing to the divisional round. Teams that were on bye like the San Francisco 49ers will end up playing a team they didn’t expect heading into this week. Does hosting the No. 6-seeded Minnesota Vikings make things easier for the 49ers to get to the Super Bowl?
On this week’s episode of Stacking the Box, FanSided‘s Matt Verderame and Mark Carman, along with former NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, look at all the upcoming divisional-round matchups and decide if the path to Super Bowl LIV got a little easier for the 49ers and other top-tier teams (53:15).
Verderame believes the 49ers’ path to the Super Bowl did get a tad easier because they won’t have to play a team like the New Orleans Saints at any point. San Francisco could have theoretically faced the Saints in the NFC Championship game at home in a rematch from earlier in the season. Fortunately for the 49ers, the Vikings handled the Saints last week in New Orleans.
As for Schwartz, he doesn’t think the path to the Super Bowl is any bit easier for the top-seeded teams because all No. 1 and No. 2 seeds are still alive. Well, of course, they are. It’s the divisional round and they haven’t played yet. Regardless, if a team with a bye gets eliminated at home during the divisional round, then things start to get really interesting.
Should the 49ers advance past the Vikings, they will then host the winner of the other NFC Divisional Round game between the No. 5 Seattle Seahawks and the No. 2 Green Bay Packers. San Francisco has beat both teams this year already, though the 49ers probably don’t want to face their division-rival Seattle for the third time this season if they had their choice.
Ultimately, the stage is set for the 49ers to get to their first Super Bowl since 2012. Unlike that campaign, they won’t have to play a conference championship game on the road. Minnesota is a tough team, but we have to believe the clock is about to strike midnight on Mike Zimmer’s team. Do we really expect Kirk Cousins to play well in consecutive postseason games? Me neither.
Here are a few other topics discussed on this week’s episode of Stacking the Box:
- Saints shockingly go home on controversial call (4:24)
- Should the NFL change overtime rules? (8:39)
- Does Tom Brady return to the Patriots? (25:19)
- What are we looking forward to this week? (57:10)
All this and more!