The 49ers playoff positioning scenario is fairly simply in Week 17. At 12-3, the 49ers are tied with the New Orleans Saints for the second best record behind the Green Bay Packers. If the 49ers beat the St. Louis Rams or the Saints lost to the Carolina Panthers, the 49ers claim the number two seed. If the reverse happens, the 49ers drop to the number three seed.
Both games will be airing at 10:00am PT, so neither team will have an advantage in terms of resting players. However, if the 49ers are blowing out the Rams in the second half, it is possible Saints might make a move to start resting some of their starters since a bye would be unlikely at that point. It makes for an intriguing chess match on Sunday.
The rest of the NFC is close to set, but there is still some drama left. The big game is Sunday Night Football between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. The winner goes to the playoffs as NFC East champion and the loser goes home with nothing. It should make for a hotly contested game.
The Lions currently hold the number five seed and the Falcons are sitting at number six with a chance to climb past the Lions. Detroit travels to Green Bay in the morning and Atlanta hosts Tampa Bay in the afternoon. The Packers have nothing to play for having clinched the number one seed and lost their first game two weeks ago. It will be interesting to see how many players they try and rest and how soon that happens. If Detroit gets the victory, Atlanta will have nothing to play for in the afternoon and could end up resting several starters.