- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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The San Francisco 49ers' 10-2 record gives them the inside track for the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.
A few possibilities based on potential finishing records:
14-2: The 49ers would be no worse than the second seed. They could be the first seed if Green Bay lost three of its final four games, or if the Packers lost twice and the 49ers prevailed on a tiebreaker. One such scenario would favor the 49ers based on better record against common opponents. Another would favor the 49ers based on superior conference record. These are long-shot scenarios, but still possible. San Francisco and Green Bay are the only NFC teams able to reach 14-2.
13-3: The 49ers would be no worse than the second seed. They would need a Packers collapse for a shot at the top seed, but they could win a tiebreaker over Green Bay for the top seed if both teams were 13-3 (here is one such scenario). No matter how the 49ers got to 13-3, they would win a tiebreaker over New Orleans for the second seed based on better conference record. The Saints, Packers and 49ers are the only NFC teams able to reach 13-3 this season.
12-4: The 49ers could still land the first seed at 12-4 -- see scenarios here and here -- but Green Bay would have to lose the rest of its games. The 49ers also could qualify as the second or third seed at 12-4. The 49ers, Packers and Saints are the only NFC teams able to reach 12-4.
There are many possibilities. To review, the 49ers will be no worse than the No. 2 seed in the NFC if they finish 13-3 or better. They are 8-1 in conference games, while the Saints are 6-3. That gives the 49ers an avantage in tiebreakers.