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NFL Playoff Picture: Saints, Packers Create All Sorts Of 49ers Intrigue

The San Francisco 49ers find themselves in an interesting position as Week 15 rolls along and the NFL playoff picture clears itself up. The short explanation is that if the 49ers win out, they will claim at least the number two seed. They have a shot at the number one seed, but it would take a fairly unexpected occurrence these next couple weeks. They are also in a position where a single loss could drop them down the the third seed and no first round bye.

The New Orleans Saints handled their business on Sunday as they blew out the Minnesta Vikings 42-20. Drew Brees had a monster day throwing for 412 yards and five touchdowns as he continues his pursuit of Dan Marino's single season passing yardage record. Brees needs only 304 yards over the next two games to match Marino's 1984 record.

The victory moves the Saints a half game ahead of the 49ers for the number two seed. If the 49ers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football, they will move back into a tie with the Saints. The 49ers hold the conference record tiebreaker and also the tiebreaker for record against common opponents.

The playoff picture also grew murkier in the battle for the number one seed. The Green Bay Packers lost a shocker to the Kansas City Chiefs and now sit at 13-1. If the 49ers win out and the Packers lose their remaining two games, the 49ers would actually claim the number one seed courtesy of the common opponents tiebreaker. The likelihood of the Packers losing their remaining two games is slim, but Week 15 is showing that crazy things can happen.