The San Francisco 49ers will face one of four teams in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. While no games in the NFL can be considered easy wins, and no postseason opponent can be taken lightly, that does not mean that each potential opponent presents the same threat to the team.
The four teams the Niners could face next weekend are the fourth-seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers, fifth-seed Philadelphia Eagles, sixth-seed Los Angeles Rams, or seventh-seed Green Bay Packers.
All of these teams present a unique challenge to San Francisco, but it seems pretty clear which team would be the most ideal matchup.
49ers should hope to face Buccaneers in divisional round
At 9-8, the Buccaneers are tied with the Packers for the worst record of any NFL team that made the playoffs. Additionally, the 49ers beat the Buccaneers in Week 11 at Levi's Stadium 27-14. It was a game that the Niners were in control of for most of the contest as they never trailed and won comfortably.
This does not mean it is a given that a second matchup with the Bucs would be a walk in the park. Baker Mayfield had a solid year at quarterback. He threw for 4,044 yards with 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also has weapons like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to throw to.
Their defense is also solid, ranking in the top 10 in total defense, according to Pro Football Reference.
The main reason the 49ers should want to face the Bucs, however, is because the other opponents are simply scarier. The Packers have been looking good with Jordan Love as quarterback and seem to be clicking at the right time. The Rams, with Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, and Kyren Williams on offense, look like they could pose a real threat even to a stout 49ers defense. We here at Niner Noise have argued that the Rams would be the scariest opponent for San Francisco in the divisional round.
One could argue that the Eagles would be a more ideal opponent than the Buccaneers because they simply have not looked the same since the 49ers beat them out in Philadelphia earlier this season and because they have sustained some key injuries. Yet, the Eagles still have good players, and perhaps one good game is all they need to get back and rolling again.
While the 49ers have no control over who they will be playing next week, it seems clear that while no matchup will be easy, the Buccaneers present their best opportunity to advance to the NFC Championship game.