Harbaugh: 'I was and still am happier than a pig in slop'
The 49ers have vested interest in a number of games on Sunday, but Jim Harbaugh won't be looking at the scoreboard. (AP)
The 49ers will get to spend Christmas morning with their families before the players report to the team’s Santa Clara practice facility in the afternoon.
The 49ers, who clinched a playoff spot Monday night with a 34-24 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, will not practice on Wednesday. The club returns to action in the regular-season finale on Sunday at the Arizona Cardinals.
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“They’ll be able to enjoy Christmas during the morning and then we’ll bring them in at 2 o’clock for meetings and that’ll be meetings only,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said on Tuesday.
The 49ers, currently on a five-game win streak, are still alive in their quest to win the NFC West for a third consecutive season. If the 49ers (11-4) win at Arizona and the Seattle Seahawks (12-3) lose at home to the St. Louis Rams, the 49ers would win the West. The 49ers owns the tie-breaker edge over Seattle based on a better record in division games.
With a division title, the 49ers would be guaranteed no worse than the No. 2 seed, a bye in the first round of the playoffs and at least one more game at Candlestick Park.
The 49ers could achieve the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a victory, a Seattle loss and a Carolina Panthers (11-4) loss at the Falcons on Sunday morning.
The 49ers will be the No. 5 seed in the playoffs with a win over Arizona and a Seattle victory. They’d also be the No. 5 seed with a loss to Arizona and a New Orleans loss at home against Tampa Bay.
The 49ers would be the No. 6 seed with a loss to Arizona and a New Orleans victory.
As a wild-card entry, the 49ers would open the playoffs on Jan. 4 or 5 at the winner of the NFC East (Philadelphia or Dallas) or NFC North (Chicago or Green Bay).
Harbaugh said nothing that happens around the NFL on Sunday will impact how the 49ers approach Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, who need a victory and a New Orleans loss to enter the playoffs as the No. 6 seed.
“Too much at stake. Too big of a game,” Harbaugh said. “As you know, too many things can happen and there’s too much at stake.”
The Carolina-Atlanta game is scheduled for a 10 a.m. (PT) kickoff, while 49ers-Arizona, St. Louis-Seattle and Tampa Bay-New Orleans are scheduled to kick off at 1:25 p.m.