The San Francisco 49ers have already earned themselves a place in the upcoming NFC playoffs, while the Seattle Seahawks are making a strong case for proving they belong in the tournament with an outstanding recent stretch.
The surging Seahawks try to continue their belated push in Saturday's divisional bout with the NFC West champion 49ers, who head to CenturyLink Field for this key Week 16 divisional matchup with designs on capturing a coveted postseason bye.
San Francisco enters the season's final two games tied with New Orleans for the NFC's No. 2 overall seed, which guarantees an off week in the first round of the conference playoffs, but currently holds the edge on the Saints by virtue of a superior conference record. A victory over the Seahawks, coupled with a New Orleans loss to fellow contender Atlanta on Monday, would secure the 49ers a spot in the top two.
Obtaining that win could be tough to come by, however. Seattle has experienced a dramatic turnaround over the second half of this 2011 campaign, ripping off victories in five of its last six games after a rough 2-6 start. The Seahawks return home riding a season-high three-game winning streak in which they've scored 30 or more points on each of those occasions.
A playmaking defense and hard running from feature back Marshawn Lynch has carried Seattle back into the playoff mix, though seizing a Wild Card berth still remains a long shot. Trailing both Atlanta and Detroit by two games in the standings, the Seahawks will have to win both this week's tilts and at Arizona while both the Falcons and Lions lose both their remaining tests.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, December 24; 4:15pm ET
Location: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
TV Distribution Map: The506.com