Predicting 49ers final 4 regular-season games, playoff results

Raheem Mostert #31 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Raheem Mostert #31 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports /

Wild Card Round: 49ers @ Cardinals — Jan. 15-17

Figuring out which team the 49ers, who finished the regular season with a 9-8 record, face in the opening Wild Card round is arguably more challenging than offering up any kind of predictions up to this point.

Right now, we know this in terms of current NFC playoff seeding in spot Nos. 1 through 7:

  1. Green Bay Packers (10-3)
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3)
  3. Arizona Cardinals (10-3)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (9-4)
  5. Los Angeles Rams (9-4)
  6. San Francisco 49ers (7-6)
  7. Washington Football Team (6-7)

The Packers hold the edge over the Bucs because of a better conference record, and if quarterback Lamar Jackson (ankle) isn’t able to play in Week 15, Green Bay stands an excellent chance of beating the Baltimore Ravens and finishing 14-3 on the season.

Same with the Buccaneers, who have “gimme” matchups to close out the year, two against the scuffling Carolina Panthers, one against the New Orleans Saints and another against the lowly New York Jets.

That leaves the Cardinals in the No. 3 seed. For now.

Arizona’s biggest remaining challenge is Week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys. Assuming that’s a Cardinals win, they’d get the No. 3 seed and will host the Niners at State Farm Stadium.

On paper, Arizona is a deeper team with plenty of offensive talent. But the Cardinals’ 3-3 record at home this season, combined with head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s documented gaffes down the stretch, both last year and in 2021, opens up the door for a San Francisco upset and a playoff victory.

Why not?

28. 42. 27. 32. Prediction