Seahawks' loss brightens outlook for 49ers

  • Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll heads off the field after the team lost to the Arizona Cardinals in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, in Seattle. Arizona won 17-10. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers' slim hopes of hosting a game in the playoffs grew a bit more robust Sunday when the unthinkable happened: The Seahawks lost at home.

Seattle's 17-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals means the 49ers still have a shot at winning the NFC West, which would at least earn them a bye in the opening round of the playoffs and a home game in the divisional round.

For that to happen, they would have to win Monday against the Falcons and in next week's finale at Arizona, and hope the Seahawks lose their finale to the St. Louis Rams.

If the Seahawks had won Sunday, they would have taken the NFC West title and wrapped up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Seattle hadn't lost at home since the 49ers beat them on Dec. 24, 2011.

It's also possible the 49ers could end up with the best record in the NFC, which would give them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. For that to happen, they'd have to win the next two games and the Seahawks and Panthers would have to lose their finales.

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