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Monday, January 24, 2022

NFC playoff photo: How the 49ers tapped with Eliza Mitchell Tuesday’s game, . look at

SANTA CLARA — This afternoon’s NFL doubleheader features a quartet of NFC playoff contenders, though no result will move the 49ers from their current No. 6 seeding among the seven-team field.

The Los Angeles Rams (9–4) host the Seattle Seahawks (5–8) at 4 p.m., which is also when Washington (6–7) visits the Philadelphia Eagles (6–7). Both the games between the Rams and Washington were rescheduled from Sunday due to the outbreak of COVID.

Meanwhile, the 49ers (8-6) will be practicing at 5:30 p.m. for Thursday night’s game against the Tennessee Titans.

If the playoffs start today — instead of January 15-17 on Super Wild-card Weekend — the 49ers will be visiting defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Mateo native Tom Brady.

“It’s great to be in a position and to have that luxury back where we control our destiny,” John Lynch, general manager at KNBR 680-AM, said this morning. “We don’t need help. We want to get into this tournament.

“Where we end up, who knows? But we still need to fight to get in and we control that, and that’s a good thing.”

The Rams’ loss today would move the 49ers to their NFC West ally’s No. 5 spot in the game; The teams will meet on January 9 at Sophie Stadium, the host of the Super Bowl.

The 49ers will fly to Nashville on Wednesday. Lynch noted that Eliza Mitchell is progressing well with her knee injury and may return from a two-game absence. “This week, we’ve taken a positive turn,” Lynch said of Mitchell, who is out of concussion protocol. “It’s tough in a short week, there won’t be a lot of full-speed reps to test (knee).”

“The reason we probably didn’t (quit earlier) is because important coaches were able to plan the game. Secondly, the COVID situation,” Lynch said. “I think Nashville has been a hotspot throughout. We’re pretty safe here. Obviously always aware. It’s a good thing to be at home as much as possible this year.”

The Green Bay Packers (11-3) won the NFC North, while the other divisions are led by the Arizona Cardinals (10-4), the Buccaneers (10-4) and the Dallas Cowboys (10-4).

So where do things stand with the 49ers and their competitors vying for a wild-card spot? Here are some tiebreaker factors if it’s for two teams (more complicated scenarios exist but this is as streamlined as it looks):

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Cardinals (10-4) – current No. 4 seed

Rest of the Event: Vs. Colts (Saturday); in Cowboys (January 2); vs Seahawks (January 9)

One-on-one victories: 49ers (two), Vikings; Seahawks (awaiting January 9 rematch); split with ramso

Conference Record: 6-4

Winning Strength: .449

Schedule Strength: 464

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Rams (9-4) – No. 5

Rest of the event: vs. Seahawks (Tuesday); in Vikings (Sunday); In the Ravens (January 2); vs 49ers (Jan 9)

One-on-one wins: Seahawks (awaiting rematch Tuesday); split with the cardinals

Conference Record: 6-3

Winning Strength: .388

Schedule Strength: 478

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49ERS (8-6) – No. 6

Other events: Tennessee Titans (Thursdays); vs. Houston Texans (January 2); In Reims (January 9; from Flex to Jan. 8)

One-on-one victories: Falcons, Eagles, Vikings, Rams (Jan 9 rematch awaited)

Conference record: 6-5 (two NFC games remaining)

Common game: They will lose this category to the Rams and Cardinals; They will either tie or lose to the Saints and Washington.

Winning Strength: .405

Schedule Strength: .487

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Vikings (7-7) – No. 7

Rest of the program: Vs Ram (Sunday); in the Packers (January 2); Vs Bears (Jan 9)

One-on-one win: Seahawks

Conference Record: 4-4

Winning Strength: .443

Schedule Strength: .495

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Saint (7-7)

Rest of the event: Versus Dolphins (December 27); vs. Panthers (January 2); In the Falcons (January 9)

Head-to-head wins: Washington, Buccaneers (twice, if it comes down to NFC South title)

Conference Record: 5-5

Winning Strength: .563

Schedule Strength: .528

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Washington (6-7)

Rest of the events: Eagles (Tuesday); in Cowboys (Sundays); vs Eagles (January 2); In Giants (Jan 9)

One-on-one win: Seahawks

Conference Record: 5-3

Winning Strength: .446

Schedule Strength: .541

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Eagles (6-7)

Rest of the schedule: vs. Washington (Monday); vs Giants (Sunday); in Washington (January 2); vs Cowboys (Jan 9)

One-on-one wins: Saints, Falcons

Conference Record: 4-4

Winning Strength: .363

Schedule Strength: .481

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Falcon (6-8)

Rest of the program: Vs Lion (Sunday); on bills (January 2); Versus Saints (Jan 9)

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