49ers can still get NFC home-field advantage

601248.jpg

49ers can still get NFC home-field advantage

The 49ers still have a shot at the No. 1 seed in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.In order for the 49ers to be guaranteed of playing exclusively at Candlestick Park in the NFC playoffs, the Green Bay Packers must lose its next two games while the 49ers close with a win at St. Louis. The Packers have remaining games against the Chicago Bears Sunday night and next week against Detroit.The 49ers can clinch the No. 2 seed -- and a first-round bye in the playoffs with a New Orleans loss Monday against Atlanta or a Saints loss next week against Carolina. The 49ers can also clinch the No. 2 seed with a win at St. Louis.Here is the complete playoff picture, according to the NFL:
2011 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 17
NFC CLINCHED:
Green Bay Packers -- North Division and first-round bye.
San Francisco 49ers -- West Division.
New Orleans Saints -- wild card spot.
Detroit Lions -- wild card spot. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
San Francisco clinches a first-round bye:
1) SF win
2) SF tie one NO loss or tie
3) one NO loss
San Francisco clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs:
1) SF win two GB lossesGREEN BAY PACKERS
Green Bay clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs:
1) one GB win or tie
2) SF loss or tie NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
New Orleans clinches NFC South Division:
1) one NO win or tie
2) one ATL loss or tie
New Orleans clinches a first-round bye:
1) two NO wins SF loss or tie
2) one NO win one NO tie SF lossNEW YORK GIANTS
NY Giants clinch NFC East Division:
1) NYG win or tieDALLAS COWBOYS
Dallas clinches NFC East Division:
1) DAL win ATLANTA FALCONS
Atlanta clinches NFC South Division:
1) two ATL wins two NO losses
Atlanta clinches a wild card spot:
1) one ATL win or tie
2) one CHI loss or tie CHICAGO BEARS
Chicago clinches a wild card spot:
1) two CHI wins two ATL lossesAFC
CLINCHED:
New England Patriots -- East Division and a first-round bye.
Houston Texans -- South Division.
Baltimore Ravens -- wild card spot.
Pittsburgh Steelers -- wild card spot.OAKLAND RAIDERS
Oakland clinches AFC West Division:
1) OAK win DEN loss or tie
2) OAK tie DEN loss
Oakland clinches a wild card spot:
1) OAK win CIN loss TEN loss or tie
2) OAK win CIN loss NYJ win NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs:
1) NE win or tie
2) BAL loss or tie PIT loss or tieBALTIMORE RAVENS
Baltimore clinches AFC North Division and a first-round bye:
1) BAL win
2) BAL tie PIT loss or tie
3) PIT loss
Baltimore clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs:
1) BAL win NE loss PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Pittsburgh clinches AFC North Division and a first-round bye:
1) PIT win BAL loss or tie
2) PIT tie BAL loss
Pittsburgh clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs:
1) PIT win BAL loss or tie NE loss DENVER BRONCOS
Denver clinches AFC West Division:
1) DEN win
2) DEN tie OAK loss or tie
3) OAK loss CINCINNATI BENGALS
Cincinnati clinches a wild card spot:
1) CIN win or tie
2) NYJ loss or tie OAK loss or tie
3) NYJ loss or tie DEN loss or tie NEW YORK JETS
NY Jets clinch a wild card spot:
1) NYJ win CIN loss TEN loss or tie OAK loss or tie
2) NYJ win CIN loss TEN loss or tie DEN loss or tie TENNESSEE TITANS
Tennessee clinches a wild card spot:
1) TEN win CIN loss NYJ win OAK loss or tie
2) TEN win CIN loss NYJ win DEN loss or tie
3) TEN win CIN loss NYJ loss or tie OAK win DEN win

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vance McDonald became aware of a report the 49ers had engaged in trade talks involving him at his brother’s wedding in Austin, Texas.

But McDonald said he did not give it much thought because he had another immediate priority.

“I still had my best man’s speech to do,” McDonald said.

Later that evening during last month's draft, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called McDonald to keep him in the loop. There was no trade, and McDonald returned to Santa Clara on Monday to continue participation in the 49ers’ offseason program.

“The first thing I told him was, ‘Man, there aren’t a lot of coaches that would do this,’” McDonald said of his talk with Shanahan. “He just wanted to fill me in.”

Nearly four weeks later, it is as if nothing ever happened.

“The only trade discussions we had was when another team asked us about Vance on draft day,” Shanahan said this week. “And after a team asked us about Vance then we asked other teams if they’d be interested in that same thing.”

McDonald said he completely understood why the 49ers would check with other teams around the league to see what they could acquire in a trade.

“Basically, it’s just like any other team in the NFL would do,” McDonald said. “If you’re a 2-14 team, obviously, there are a lot of things you can improve on, a lot of spots that need to be filled. There are a lot of things you need to improve upon in the offseason. So if teams are going to call and inquire about you, then obviously the next step is to … call around to every other team.

“So that’s exactly what happened to me. It isn’t like they don’t want me here. There was never a lack of communication on any level.”

Even before he knew his immediate future with the 49ers, McDonald said he tried to maintain the proper state of mind.

“I had the mindset this isn’t going to change anything,” McDonald said. “I’m going to end up where I end up and I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing, which is do everything to be a better football player.”

McDonald enters the fifth year of his NFL career after signing a new deal in December that amounts to a three-year, $19.7 million extension. Three days later, the 49ers placed McDonald on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

McDonald was on pace for his best season as a pass-catcher. In 11 games, he had 24 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

Now, he is competition for a spot in the 49ers’ offense, along with fifth-round draft pick George Kittle, undrafted rookie Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

McDonald said he likes what Shanahan has brought to the 49ers, including added responsibilities of the tight end position.

“Last year, all we talked about was how fast our pace was,” McDonald said. “With Kyle, it’s insanely quick. He’s a very detailed guy. It’s interesting to hear him present information. You try to apply it and play with the same mindset that he has. It’s a task that we all enjoy doing.

“We (tight ends) are the end of the line. There’s communication with us and the wide receivers and running backs. We’re also in command with receiving corps. There are a lot of things on our plate. Hopefully, this doesn’t get back to the wide receivers, but we’re supposed to be smarter than them. It’s a fun job to have. We don’t try to rub it in too much.”

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly is back in college football.

The former Oregon coach, who served as 49ers head coach last season, signed a multiyear deal as an ESPN analyst, the network announced Friday morning. He will work predominantly on pre-games, halftimes and in studio wraps each Saturday on ESPN2.

“Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective – as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I‘ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations.

“Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”

Kelly, 53, was fired on the evening of the 49ers’ season finale. The 49ers went 2-14 under Kelly and set the franchise record with 13 consecutive losses. Their only victories came against the Los Angeles Rams. Kelly also auditioned with FOX for the analyst job vacated when John Lynch became 49ers general manager, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Kelly served as Oregon’s head coach from 2009 to ’12. His teams compiled a record of 46-7. Under Kelly, the Ducks advanced to the 2011 national championship game, losing to Auburn 22-19.

Kelly won the AP College Football Coach of the Year. He twice won the Pac-10 coach of the year. He left Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. After his first two NFL teams went 10-6, Kelly was fired in 2015 with one game remaining in the season. The Eagles were 6-9 at the time of Kelly's firing.

“Chip is one of the most innovative football minds of our generation,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting said. “As a coach, he saw the game from a unique perspective, never afraid to take an unconventional approach. We want him to bring that mentality to our college football coverage each week, offering fans a varying viewpoint outside of the conventional thought process.”