First off, I'm grateful to be spending Christmas with family and wish the best for you and yours. My plan for the day does not include extensive NFC West blogging.
But I would like to share few things to know about playoff positioning and the draft as they pertain to NFC West teams in Week 17:
Niners and second seed. The San Francisco 49ers will secure the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first-round playoff bye if they beat St. Louis, or if New Orleans loses one of its final two games. The Saints face Atlanta on "Monday Night Football" and Carolina in Week 17. The 49ers and Saints could finish with the same record, but San Francisco would prevail for the second seed on a tiebreaker.
Draft order pending. The Indianapolis Colts will emerge with the top pick in the 2012 NFL draft if they lose to Jacksonville, or if the Rams defeat the 49ers, or if the Colts and Rams both finish with ties. The Rams would pick first overall if they lost or tied and the Colts won, or if the Colts tied and the Rams lost.
Niners could rest starters. If the Falcons beat the Saints on Monday night, the 49ers could have reason to rest starters against St. Louis. That would add another dimension to the 2012 draft-order equation by increasing the Rams' chances for a victory. Scoreboard watching could come into play if the 49ers and Saints are 13-2. Week 17 games involving San Francisco and New Orleans both kick off at 1 p.m. ET.
Enjoy your Sunday.
Update: The NFL has passed along official scenarios for the 49ers. The 49ers clinch the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a San Francisco victory, or with a San Francisco tie and one New Orleans defeat or tie, or with one New Orleans defeat. The 49ers would clinch the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a San Francisco victory and two Green Bay defeats.