Potential 49ers opponents for NFC Divisional Round

Jan 2, 2024, 2:00 PM | Updated: 2:37 pm

Dre Greenlaw #57 of the San Francisco 49ers helps up Charvarius Ward #7 off the field during the fi...

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 03: Dre Greenlaw #57 of the San Francisco 49ers helps up Charvarius Ward #7 off the field during the first quarter in the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 03, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

With the Philadelphia Eagles’ loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17, the San Francisco 49ers have officially clinched the top spot in the NFC. But who they could face in the postseason remains a question.

The 49ers clinch of the NFC means they will be on a Bye the first week of the 2023 playoffs. And with several starters banged up, the three-week gap between meaningful games is a welcome sight for SF.

San Francisco has also indicated that Week 18 won’t be devoid of starters, with many of them expected to play in some capacity against the Los Angeles Rams. That’s for two reasons: Keeping fresh with such a gap in between contests and scouting ahead for a potential matchup down the line.

The Rams, unlike other NFC contenders, could see the 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs. LA is currently the No. 6 in the conference, and a win on a wild-card weekend would likely put them face-to-face with their rivals.

But other clashes could occur as well; Here is how the first game of the 49ers 2023 playoffs could shake out.

The No. 7 seed: Green Bay Packers (current), Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints

Anything is possible in single-elimination playoffs right? It would certainly be a shock, but in the NFC, nothing is ruled out.

The Packers currently hold the last spot in the 2023 playoffs at 8-8. Green Bay has a 60% chance to clinch the postseason currently, needing to beat the Chicago Bears in Week 18. If they beat the Bears, and then win on wild-card weekend, it’s very likely the 49ers will host them a week later.

Teams can still play spoiler, however, with the Seahawks and Saints still in play.

The No. 6 seed: Los Angeles Rams

The 49ers’ rivals to the south, the Rams have already clinched the No. 6 seed with their win over the New York Giants in Week 17. And while their Week 18 clash with the Red & Gold may be meaningless, could they see each other again in Round 2?

It’s very possible, especially with how hot the Rams have been over the last month. LA will see either the Dallas Cowboys (No. 2) or the Detroit Lions (No. 3) on wild-card weekend. But both teams have been inconsistent in recent weeks.

If they beat the higher seed on the road in Round 1, they could be heading to Santa Clara for another NFC West showdown.

The No. 5 seed: Philadelphia Eagles

Could we see a rematch of the 2022 NFC Championship Game in Round 2? It’s possible, very possible.

The Eagles currently have the five-seed, looking like a shell of themselves the last six weeks of the regular season. Week 17 was an indictment of that, losing to the Arizona Cardinals, 35-31, at home.

To simply put it: Philly is reeling at the moment, with the unhappy franchise sticking out like a sore thumb.

But, with their playoff position, they would face the winners of the NFC South on wild-card weekend. That is currently the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that just got demolished by the New Orleans Saints in a must-win contest.

The Eagles, objectively, have more talent than Tampa Bay, and that could be the deciding factor in the postseason. If Philadelphia is the lowest seed in the NFC in Round 2, a trip out West awaits them.

The No. 4 seed: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (current)

Someone has to win the NFC South right? Currently, that’s the Buccaneers at 8-8.

Tampa Bay has a 69% chance of making the postseason, only needing to beat the Carolina Panthers on the road in Week 18. Anything is possible, but this is pretty much set in stone.

The Bucs will face the No. 5 seed in the NFC in Round 1, likely hosting the Eagles in Florida. If they take care of Philly the first week, (and no lower seed wins), they travel to the Bay Area for the divisional round. The 49ers took care of them in Week 11 with a 27-14 victory.

But again, anything is possible, especially with star players on both offense and defense for Tampa Bay.

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Sunday, Jan. 7th vs. Los Angeles Rams – 1:25 PM PST
  • January 13-14 – NFL Playoffs (Wild Card Round) – BYE
  • January 20-21 – NFC Divisional Round

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Potential 49ers opponents for NFC Divisional Round