If the 49ers do end up making the NFL playoffs this season, they probably won’t want to face this particular team in the Wild Cards round.
The San Francisco 49ers still have several ways to advance to the playoffs.
The first and most direct, beating the Los Angeles Rams 12-4 in Week 18 would secure the Niners’ participation, which would secure Head Coach Kyle Shanahan’s team to the No.6 seed. in the NFC playoff photo, a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles, against whom San Francisco holds a tiebreaker in their Week 2 win at Philly.
The second, which would involve the 49ers getting a bit of help if they lose Week 18, would be for the Atlanta Falcons beating the New Orleans Saints.
Ideally, the Niners run their own affairs and don’t have to rely on another team.
But that will only be the start of the journey. And with San Francisco unable to climb any higher than the sixth seed, Shanahan and Co. are confident they’ll hit the road for Wild Card weekend if they make the playoffs dance.
And there is one team they would probably prefer not to face outside of the rest of the possibilities.
The 49ers would hate to see the Buccaneers make the NFL playoffs with the Wild Card
Currently, the NFC playoff standings are as follows:
- Green Bay Packers (13-3)
- Los Angeles Rams (12-4)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4)
- Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
- Arizona Cardinals (11-5)
- San Francisco 49ers (9-7)
- Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
The Week 18 fixture list could shake things up a lot. But as it stands, if the regular season ended today, the 49ers would move on to face the Buccaneers for the Wild Card round.
Not a favorite match.
Forget the Bucs mess with wide receiver Antonio Brown, who will soon be dropped. Tampa Bay sets wide receiver Mike Evans back to good health from a lingering hamstring injury, and he alone presents problems for a Niners cornerback room that struggled with high-end wideouts for much of the season. the year.
Putting 6-foot-5 Evans against a cornerback like Josh Norman or even promising rookie Ambry Thomas is a problem for San Francisco.
Oh, and there’s also quarterback Tom Brady, who would finally face his childhood team in a playoff scenario, a dream he’s probably had since turning pro. Brady, who has taken just 21 sacks this year, doesn’t seem like an easy target for the 49ers’ pass rush, the only unit that can help cover a dubious group of cornerbacks.
The 49ers don’t compare as well to the Buccaneers as they do to the Rams, Packers
Certainly, no Wild Card game will be easy for the Niners this season. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are playing as well as anyone else in the league right now.
But Rodgers is 0-3 in the playoffs against San Francisco, including that memorable beating in the 2020 NFC Championship game that propelled the 49ers to the Super Bowl. On top of that, Green Bay is still allowing 4.8 rushing yards per carry against this season, 31st in the league, suggesting it could play straight into the 49ers’ first offense in a bid to keep Rodgers off the field as much. as possible .
Read More: 49ers vs. Rams Week 18 Betting Odds Prediction
Shanahan also apparently has some advantages against former proteges, including Packers head coach Matt LaFleur and Rams head coach Sean McVay.
The Niners have a five-game winning streak against Los Angeles heading into their Week 18 regular season game. And if San Francisco were to make it to Southern California in the Wild Card round, that would surely be better than a full trip up the east coast to Tampa Bay.
Again, none of these clashes would be easy. But measuring things all around, facing the Buccaneers would be the most important thing the 49ers would rather not do in the first round.