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NFL playoff picture: What does 49ers-Cardinals mean for NFC standings

The 49ers face the Cardinals in Arizona on Sunday, January 8. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

Colt McCoy #12 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to pass during the second quarter in the game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field At Mile High on December 18, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Results update: The 49ers easily beat the Cardinals to retain the No. 2 seed, but the Eagles also won their game to keep the 49ers from getting the No. 1 seed. San Francisco will play either the Seahawks, Packers, or Lions in the first round.

Results update: The Vikings beat the Bears in the early window. That means the 49ers have to beat the Cardinals to remain the No. 2 seed. San Francisco can still claim the No. 1 seed if the Eagles lose to the Giants.

The San Francisco 49ers will take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 18. Kickoff from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California is set for 4:25 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 8, with the game airing on Fox. Even though the Cardinals have long since been eliminated from playoff contention, the 49ers have clinched a trip to the postseason.

49ers playoff picture

San Francisco sits with the No. 2 seed heading into this game. Depending on the game results, they could head into the playoffs with the No. 1, No. 2, or No. 3 seed in the NFC. If they lose, the lowest they could drop would be No. 3, but that would require a Minnesota Vikings win over the Chicago Bears. They can move to the No. 1 seed with a win and a Philadelphia Eagles loss to the New York Giants. The 49ers will retain the No. 2 seed if they win their game and the Eagles win theirs.

Tiebreaker implications

The 49ers have the edge over the Vikings in tiebreakers due to a better record in conference games. This is the same tiebreaker that would give San Francisco the No. 1 seed with a win and an Eagles loss.