3 possible 49ers Divisional Round opponents if they beat Seahawks
By Asher Fair
There are three teams the San Francisco 49ers could potentially host in the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs if they defeat the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday afternoon.
Levi’s Stadium is scheduled to host the opening game of this year’s NFL playoffs this Saturday afternoon, with the No. 7 seed Seattle Seahawks coming to town to take on the No. 2 seed San Francisco 49ers for a third time this season.
The 49ers won both games between the two NFC West rivals during the regular season, winning 27-7 at home in Week 2 and securing a 21-13 road victory in Week 15.
While they made the playoffs last year, San Francisco hasn’t hosted a playoff game since they had the No. 1 seed throughout the 2019 playoffs en route to their seventh Super Bowl appearance.
Their 2019 playoff appearance was their first postseason appearance of any kind since leaving Candlestick Park following the 2013 season, so they have a 2-0 all-time postseason record at Levi’s Stadium.
If they can make it 3-0 on Saturday afternoon, they would secure a home game in the Divisional Round for the second time in the last four years.
A win over the Seahawks would mean that there are three possible opponents for the 49ers the following weekend.
The three teams in play here are the No. 3 seed Minnesota Vikings, the No. 4 seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the No. 5 seed Dallas Cowboys. Of the three, the Buccaneers are the only team the 49ers played during the regular season. The 49ers won 35-7 in what was quarterback Brock Purdy’s first career start.
The No. 1 seed Philadelphia Eagles aren’t in play, since their opponent is slated to be whoever ends up being the remaining team with the lowest seed.
Interestingly, the No. 6 seed New York Giants aren’t in play either. Even in a seven-team format, a No. 2 seed cannot play a No. 6 seed in the Divisional Round. While the No. 6 seed wouldn’t be the lowest seed remaining if the No. 7 seed wins, the No. 2 seed would already be out if the No. 7 seed wins.
So let’s have a look at how the 49ers can host either the Vikings, Buccaneers, or Cowboys in the Divisional Round.
NOTE: All percentages based on FiveThirtyEight’s projections.
If the 49ers defeat the Seahawks and the Vikings beat the Giants, this matchup is set, as the only round in which a No. 2 seed and No. 3 seed (from the same conference) can meet is the Divisional Round.
The chance that this matchup takes place in the Divisional Round is 54.27%. If a 49ers Wild Card victory is assumed, the chance it takes place is 67%.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Aside from the 49ers and Buccaneers winning, one more result must take place in order for a Week 14 rematch to take place in the Divisional Round: the Giants must avenge their Week 16 loss to the Vikings.
The chance that this matchup takes place in the Divisional Round is 10.69%. If a 49ers Wild Card victory is assumed, the chance it takes place in this round is 13.2%.
The Giants must also beat the Vikings in order for the 49ers and Cowboys to meet in the Divisional Round. If all three teams win, then a rematch of last year’s Wild Card game would be set, but in Santa Clara instead of Arlington.
The chance that this matchup takes place in the Divisional Round is 16.04%. If a 49ers Wild Card victory is assumed, the chance it takes place in this round is 19.8%.