How Saints' loss to Dolphins impacts 49ers, NFC playoff picture


Ian Book's first NFL start went about as expected for the New Orleans Saints, and the 49ers' playoff odds got a boost as a result.

The Saints' 20-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins on "Monday Night Football" knocked them from No. 8 in the NFC standings down to No. 10, with the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons moving up to the eighth and ninth seeds, respectively.

The 49ers (8-7) also now have a playoff-clinching scenario for their Week 17 game against the Houston Texans at Levi's Stadium.

Per ESPN's Nick Wagoner, if the 49ers beat Houston and the Saints lose to the Carolina Panthers in Week 17, the 49ers will clinch one of the three NFC wild-card spots.

Minnesota will travel to Lambeau Field for a clash with the NFC-leading Green Bay Packers in Week 17, while Atlanta will face the Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen on the road. The Philadelphia Eagles will play the Washington Football Team in Week 17.

Here is the updated NFC standings as Week 16 comes to an end.

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1. Green Bay Packers (12-3)

2. Dallas Cowboys (11-4)

3. Los Angeles Rams (11-4)

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-4)

5. Arizona Cardinals (10-5)

6. 49ers (8-7)

7. Philadelphia Eagles (8-7)

8. Minnesota Vikings (7-8)

9. Atlanta Falcons (7-8)

10. New Orleans Saints (7-8)

11. Washington Football Team (6-9)

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