The final piece of the playoff puzzle fell into place for the second seeded San Francisco 49ers following the conclusion of "Sunday Night Football." The Detroit Lions 20-16 win over Green Bay knocked the Packers out of contention, and as a result, the Seattle Seahawks clinched the No. 7 seed in the conference. Because of where these two NFC rivals landed in the playoff seeding, Seattle and San Francisco will meet for a third and final time during the 2022 season.
"We found out we're playing Seattle, and now, we know we're playing Saturday," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "We quickly realized that Monday was going to be Tuesday for us, so we got right to that point."
The 49ers found themselves in a similar situation during their playoff run last year having to face the Los Angeles Rams twice during the regular season and then once more in the NFC Championship Game. The biggest difference this time around is that the 49ers will be hosting their NFC West rivals at Levi's® Stadium.
"I don't really look at it as you have to beat someone three times. I look at it as we've got to beat them on Saturday," Shanahan said. "I don't think the other games have to do with it. It all comes down to this, and that's how it was last year too."
San Francisco swept Seattle in 2022 to remain undefeated in divisional play for the first time since 1997 and for the first time since the NFC West was realigned in 2002. However, as Shanahan and the players have reiterated, streaks and series leads don't matter in the postseason. You have to win the game at hand to advance to the next round.
For as long standing as the 49ers-Seahawks rivalry is, it's interesting to note that just one of their 49 total meetings was in the postseason. Their lone playoff showdown was in the 2013 NFC Championship Game. Seattle won that game 23-17 to advance to Super Bowl XLIX. Despite the 49ers success against the Seahawks in 2022, Seattle owns the overall series versus San Francisco 30-19.
"Teams know each other pretty well. You don't get to surprise teams much in situations like this," Shanahan said. "That's how it's been with us and Seattle for a number of years. Usually, every time we play it comes down to the wire."
With a short week ahead, Shanahan confirmed on Monday the typical game week schedule has been moved up a day. Players got the day off on Monday and will begin Wild Card prep and practice on Tuesday.