The San Francisco 49ers officially clinched the NFC West title back in Week 13 and the St. Louis Rams eliminated themselves from playoff consideration in Week 12, but the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks have managed to stay alive in the Wildcard race with their recent win streaks.
At this point, Alex Smith and the 49ers are still playing for a first-round bye and home-field in the NFC playoffs, but they need a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night to keep pace with the New Orleans Saints. If the 49ers lose or tie on Monday Night, the Green Bay Packers will clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC. When it comes to the number two seed, which carries a first-round bye and next-best home field priority, the 49ers emerge with the desired seed if they finish with a better record than the Saints. If the Saints and 49ers finished with the same record, no matter if it's 11-5, 12-4 or 13-3, San Francisco would earn the second seed by virtue of a better conference record, as well.
As for the Cardinals and Seahawks, neither team controls its own destiny, and each has their playoff hopes relegated to crazy scenarios. There is no scenario where both teams could make the playoffs, due to tie-breakers, but one of them could make the NFC bracket they win out and the Lions or Falcons lose out to tie at 9-7. When talking tie breakers scenarios for the Cardinals and Seahawks, actual tie games come into play, so the odds aren't good.
|San Francisco 49ers||10||3||0||0.769||3-1||8-2|
|St. Louis Rams||2||12||0||0.143||0-5||1-10|
For more on the 2011 NFL playoffs, visit the SB Nation NFL Playoff Race Stream.