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NFL playoff picture: Who to root for in Week 18 if you are a San Francisco 49ers fan

Week 18 is here and the San Francisco 49ers are in sixth place and on the verge of clinching a playoff berth. Who should 49ers fans root for to help their chances?

A San Francisco fan is not pleased during the NFL pro football game between the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers on January 2, 2022 at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sunday update: The 49ers stunned the Rams 27-24 in overtime. With the win, the 49ers clinched a playoff berth and knocked out the Saints. San Francisco will be the No. 6 seed and face the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round.

The San Francisco 49ers head into Week 18 sitting in sixth place in the overall NFC standings and facing a simple task in the final weekend of the regular season. Win and they’re in, lose and there’s a decent chance they’re out.

The 49ers are 9-7 and tied with the Eagles, with both teams a game up on the Saints. The 49ers have the tiebreaker edge on the Eagles so they’re in the second wild card berth and the Eagles are in the third wild card berth. That leaves the Saints on the outside looking in.

The 49ers travel to face the Rams on Sunday to close out the weekend. The 49ers could finish in sixth, seventh, or out of the playoffs entirely based on various results. If the 49ers win, they claim the sixth seed and can’t move anywhere else regardless of other results. If the 49ers lose, here’s what comes into the play.

Saints vs. Falcons (49ers loss)

If the Saints win, they claim the last remaining wild card berth and the 49ers are going golfing early. If the Saints lose, the 49ers claim either the sixth or seventh seed depending on the Eagles result.

The NFL made a schedule change so the Saints-Falcons season finale will be at the same time, with kickoff for both games set for 4:25 p.m. ET. The Saints are 4.5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, although the Falcons won the game in New Orleans earlier this year.

Cowboys vs. Eagles (49ers loss)

If the Eagles win, they will claim the sixth seed. If the Eagles lose, they will claim the seventh seed regardless of whether it’s the 49ers or Saints with the other available wild card. The Eagles are seven-point underdogs at DraftKings Sportsbook and the team is likely to sit some starters.