NFC playoff picture: 49ers still in No. 6 spot, two games behind Cardinals, Rams

NASHVILLE — Five wins in the past six games have the 49ers sitting pretty for a playoff berth.

Just don’t get that confused with their NFC West hopes, now that they’re two games behind both the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams with three games to go until all three likely reach the postseason.

If the playoffs started today, the 49ers (8-6) would be the No. 6 seed and owner of the NFC’s second of three wild-card berths. Also, they’d be visiting the reigning champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Mateo native Tom Brady, which still could hold true come the Jan. 15-17 on “Super Wild-Card Weekend.”

Tuesday’s results saw the Los Angeles Rams (10-4) and Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) enhance their playoff clout with 10-point wins, over the Seattle Seahawks (5-9) and Washington (6-8), respectively.

Now comes Week 16, which the 49ers will open with a Thursday night visit to the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans (9-5).

“There’s a lot of good things. A lot of things to improve too,” Jimmy Garoppolo said. “It’s just, you know, December football. You never know which play’s going to determine your season or that game and you’re trying to be perfect. We all are at this point, but you know, that’s why you’ve got to love it.”

The Green Bay Packers (11-3) clinched 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 for wild-card spots? Here are some tiebreaker factors if it’s down to two teams (more convoluted scenarios exist but this is as streamlined as it looks):

* * *Cardinals (10-4) — current No. 4 seed

Remaining schedule: vs. Colts (Saturday); at Cowboys (Jan. 2); vs. Seahawks (Jan. 9)

Head-to-head wins: 49ers (two), Vikings; Seahawks (Jan. 9 rematch awaits); split with Rams

Conference record: 6-4

Strength of victory: .450

Strength of schedule: 467

* * *Rams (9-4) — No. 5

Remaining schedule: at Vikings (Sunday); at Ravens (Jan. 2); vs. 49ers (Jan. 9)

Head-to-head wins: Seahawks (twice); split with Cardinals

Conference record: 7-3

Strength of victory: .382

Strength of schedule: 467

* * *

49ERS (8-6) — No. 6

Remaining schedule: at Tennessee Titans (Thursday); vs. Houston Texans (Jan. 2); at Rams (Jan. 9; could flex to Jan. 8)

Head-to-head wins: Falcons, Eagles, Vikings, Rams (Jan. 9 rematch awaits)

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

Common games: They’d lose this category to the Rams and the Cardinals; they’d either tie or lose to the Saints and Washington.

Strength of victory: .415

Strength of schedule: .487

* * *Vikings (7-7) — No. 7

Remaining schedule: vs. Rams (Sunday); at Packers (Jan. 2); vs. Bears (Jan. 9)

Head-to-head wins: Seahawks

Conference record: 5-4

Strength of victory: .439

Strength of schedule: .492

* * *

Eagles (7-7)

Remaining schedule: vs. Giants (Sunday); at Washington (Jan. 2); vs. Cowboys (Jan. 9)

Head-to-head wins: Saints, Falcons, Washington

Conference record: 5-4

Strength of victory: .372

Strength of schedule: .477

* * *

Saints (7-7)

Remaining schedule: vs. Dolphins (Dec. 27); vs. Panthers (Jan. 2); at Falcons (Jan. 9)

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

Conference record: 5-5

Strength of victory: .551

Strength of schedule: .526

* * *

Washington (6-8)

Remaining schedule: at Cowboys (Sunday); vs. Eagles (Jan. 2); at Giants (Jan. 9)

Head-to-head wins: Seahawks

Conference record: 5-5

Strength of victory: .440

Strength of schedule: .536

* * *Falcons (6-8)

Remaining schedule: vs. Lions (Sunday); at Bills (Jan. 2); vs. Saints (Jan. 9)

Head-to-head wins: Saints

Conference record: 3-7

Strength of victory: .333

Strength of schedule: .474

* * *Seahawks (5-9)

Remaining schedule: vs. Bears (Sunday); vs. Lions (Jan. 2); at Cardinals (Jan. 9)

Head-to-head wins: 49ers (two)

Conference record: 2-7

Strength of victory: .414

Strength of schedule: .543

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