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How 49ers could clinch NFC's No. 1 playoff seed Sunday

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If the 49ers win their final two regular-season games, they’re guaranteed to clinch the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed and the valuable bye week that comes with it.

But why make everyone sweat it out until the final Sunday? The Faithful might not have to, if certain scenarios play out this weekend.

Should the Detroit Lions, who’ve already clinched the NFC North title, lose to the Dallas Cowboys (10-5) on Saturday night, the 49ers would enter Sunday’s schedule needing a road win over the woeful Washington Commanders (4-12) and a Philadelphia Eagles loss to the lowly Arizona Cardinals (3-12) to claim the prize.

The 49ers, Eagles and Lions all own 11-4 records, but San Francisco currently holds the No. 1 seed because of tiebreakers over both Philadelphia and Detroit.

The 49ers beat the Eagles 42-19 in Week 12, but they will not play the Lions in the regular season. However, San Francisco owns a superior record in NFC games (9-1 versus 7-3), so would edge out Detroit in that case.

Should the NFC playoff race extend to the final regular-season week, which seems likely at the moment, the 49ers would have to beat the NFC West rival Los Angeles Rams, who at 8-7 remain in the playoff hunt, to ensure the No. 1 seed. The Eagles are scheduled to visit the struggling New York Giants, and the Lions will host the on-the-playoff-fringe Minnesota Vikings.

NFC Week 17 playoff scenarios

San Francisco 49ers (11-4): NFC West title
Detroit Lions (11-4): NFC North title
Philadelphia Eagles (11-4): Playoff berth
Dallas Cowboys (10-5): Playoff berth

Clinch NFC's No. 1 seed, lone first-round bye and home-field advantage with:
-- Win over Washington Commanders + Lions loss to Cowboys + Eagles loss to Arizona Cardinals

Clinch NFC East title with:
-- Win over Cardinals + Cowboys loss to Lions or tie OR
-- Tie vs. Cardinals + Cowboys loss to Lions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7)
Clinch playoff berth and NFC South title with:
-- Win over New Orleans Saints OR
-- Tie vs. Saints + Atlanta Falcons loss to Chicago Bears

Seattle Seahawks (8-7)
Clinch playoff berth with:
-- Win over Pittsburgh Steelers + Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings tie

Los Angeles Rams (8-7)
Clinch playoff berth with:
-- Win over New York Giants + Seahawks loss to Steelers OR
-- Win over Giants + Packers-Vikings tie

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