49ers still in playoff twists

  • The 49er defense wraps up Jacquizz Rodgers in the 1st quarter. The San Francisco 49ers beat the Atlanta Falcons, 34-24 on Monday, December 23, 2013.
    (John Burgess/For The Press Democrat)

Harbaugh said Friday that his team seemed "very focused" on the task at hand: The Cardinals, who can make the playoffs only by beating the 49ers and having the New Orleans Saints (10-5) lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11).

"As players and coaches, you don't control who you play, where you play, when you play," Harbaugh said. "The thing you control is how you play."

Gore echoed the 49ers' mentality over the past month by saying they're approaching their Arizona visit as if the postseason has come early.

"They're going to play like it's a playoff game, and we're going to treat it like a playoff game," Gore said.

This past week, the Cardinals haven't vented against a playoff structure in which they could be eliminated despite an 11-5 record. Coach Bruce Arians said it would be "crazy" to suggest division winners don't deserve automatic berths. Cornerback Patrick Peterson added, "We're not being little girls about it and moaning and things like that."

Don't expect the 49ers to whine about whatever playoff debut they draw. They've opened the past two postseasons at home in the divisional round. Last season, they won the NFC Championship in Atlanta before falling in Super Bowl XLVII to the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans.

Here is a quick look at how the 49ers could get seeded:

No. 1: 49ers win at Cardinals, Seahawks lose to Rams, Panthers lose to Falcons.

No. 2: 49ers win, Seahawks lose.

No. 5: 49ers win; or, 49ers lose and Saints lose to Buccaneers.

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