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NFL Playoff Picture: 49ers Lose, Saints Win And Playoff Seeding Gets Interesting

As we already noted, the San Francisco 49ers sorely want to avoid a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome in Louisiana. Quarterback Drew Brees is just too good there, and the only way the 49ers can avoid that is be maintaining the second seed in the NFC. It also would award them a first-round bye, and less games between a team and the coveted Lombardi Trophy is always a positive.

But their hopes of a second seed took a big hit on Sunday, when they lost to the Arizona Cardinals, while the Saints won their game over the Tennessee Titans, and moved to 10-3, a record both team's share. Fortunately for the 49ers, if the playoffs were to begin today, they'd hold the edge in the tiebreak and still remain the second seed. Unfortunately, they have a Monday Night Football showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers on the horizon and that could be a tough game to get past.

Following that game, San Francisco has games against the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams - both games that they should win, but then again, they should have beaten the Cardinals. Either way, as it stands, the 49ers are the second seed in the NFC. Here's a look at the seeding as it stands:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. New Orleans Saints
4. New York Giants
5. Atlanta Falcons
6. Detroit Lions