Wednesday, April 17

NFC Playoff Image: How the No. 7 Seed Eagles Got a Playoff Berth Before the No. 6 Seed 49ers

The picture of the NFC playoffs is beginning to come into focus more clearly. Six teams have already secured playoff spots with three divisions decided and the No. 1 seed goes to the Packers. The only undecided division, the NFC West, will be for the Rams or Cardinals, two teams that have already secured playoff spots.

So everything in the NFC playoff race seems normal. Well, almost everything. There’s a rarity in the rankings right now among teams competing for the 6th and 7th seeds in the postseason.

The Eagles have clinched a playoff spot. The 49ers haven’t.

Why is it so strange? Well, the 49ers are ahead of the Eagles in the standings. The 49ers are the No. 6 seed in the NFC and the Eagles are the No. 7 seed. They both have the same 9-7 record, but despite trailing the 49ers in the rankings, the Eagles are guaranteed to get there. to the postseason regardless of their Week 18 results.

Here’s why the Eagles managed to clinch a playoff spot ahead of the 49ers and why San Francisco remains ahead of them in the standings.

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Why the 49ers are ahead of the Eagles in the NFC playoff photo

The reason the 49ers are ahead of the Eagles is simple. The 49ers played the Eagles during Week 2 of the season and emerged with a 17-11 victory. That means the 49ers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Eagles.

Because San Francisco and Philadelphia are the only two teams in the NFC with a 9-7 record, the 49ers are ahead of the Eagles because of that tiebreaker. They will remain ahead of the Eagles if the teams finish in a two-way tie for sixth place in the NFC.

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However, the 49ers have yet to secure a playoff spot as a pesky team persists in the race for the final wild-card spot.

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Why the Eagles clinched a playoff spot before the 49ers

The Eagles clinched a playoff spot before the 49ers because they can’t be caught by the only team left “in pursuit” of a playoff spot. The Saints, who are 8-8, are within a game of the 49ers and Eagles, but could not beat Philadelphia under any circumstances.

The Eagles beat the Saints 40-29 in Week 11 to give them a head-to-head tiebreaker against New Orleans. That means if the Eagles and Saints end the season in a 2-2 for seventh place at 9-8, Philadelphia would advance to the playoffs because of that victory.

If both the Eagles and 49ers lose and the Saints win, that would create a three-way tie for the bottom two wild-card spots. That would require a tiebreaker that would ultimately come down to the team with the best record against opponents in the conference. The Eagles and Saints would be 7-5 against the NFC while the 49ers would be 6-6.

That would knock the 49ers out of the playoffs and leave the Eagles in. Philadelphia would get the No. 6 spot thanks to its head-to-head victory over the Saints.

So even though the 49ers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Eagles, Philadelphia has officially secured a playoff spot because it owns the biggest tiebreakers over the Saints. The 49ers don’t, which is why San Francisco continues to fight for a playoff spot.

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How the 49ers can clinch a playoff spot in Week 18

The 49ers have an easy road to the postseason. If they beat the Rams, they will make the playoffs as the sixth seed in the NFC. However, they can also get in if the Falcons help them out and defeat the Saints.

Below are the official scenarios that can lead San Francisco to the postseason:

  1. 49ers win or draw OR
  2. Santos loss or draw

Five thirty eight it gives the 49ers a 61 percent chance of making the playoffs. That’s the second-highest among teams yet to clinch a playoff spot, behind only the Colts (90 percent chance).

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