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NFL playoff picture: What does Bucs-49ers mean for NFC standings

The Bucs face the 49ers in Santa Clara on Sunday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

A general view of the game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Santa Clara, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Results update: The 49ers crushed the Bucs 35-7 to improve to 9-4. With the Seahawks losing, San Francisco can clinch the NFC West with a win these two squads face off in Week 15 on Thursday Night Football. The Bucs drop to 6-7 but are still in first place in the NFC South.

The San Francisco 49ers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in Week 14, and both teams are looking to improve their playoff position. Kickoff is set for 4:25 p.m. ET at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The 49ers are a 3.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Bucs playoff picture

The Bucs are only 6-6, but the NFC South has been bad enough that they are in first place and have a game and a half lead on the second place Falcons. They sit two games back of the 49ers for the third best record among division-leaders. It seems unlikely the NFC South sends anybody other than the division winner to the playoffs. If the Bucs win, they’ll pull to within a game of the 49ers. If the Bucs lose, they’ll be a game up on the Falcons for the division lead.

49ers playoff picture

The 49ers are 8-4 and sitting in first place in the NFC West, a game up on the Seahawks. They are two games back of the No. 2 Vikings and three back of the No. 1 Eagles.

This is a big game for maintaining an edge on the Seahawks — who are playing the 4-8 Panthers — but it is also significant because it is the first game since Jimmy Garoppolo fractured his foot. Brock Purdy will make his second appearance and first start. All eyes will be on this offense.

Tiebreaker implications

All of the NFC South and NFC West teams face off this year. The third tiebreaker for the division standings is record in common games. Common games is the third tiebreaker for the overall conference standings, but it requires four such games.