The San Francisco 49ers will face off against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, November 24 at 5:20 PM PT as part of the NFL's three game Thanksgiving lineup. While Niner fans will be glued to NFL Network after their holiday feasts, there are some other key week 12 matchups that you should keep an eye on.
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
When: Thursday, November 24, 2011 at 9:30 AM PT
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
Why you should care: A San Francisco 49ers win against the Baltimore Ravens and Green Bay Packers loss to the Detroit Lions, a team that the 49ers have already beaten, would put the 49ers in the lead for home field advantage in the NFC playoffs. It would also give the 49ers the best record in the NFL. The 49ers and the Packers do not play each other during the regular season, so the next tie-breaker for teams not within the same division past head-to-head and conference record would be common opponents.
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams
When: Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM PT
Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri
Why you should care: The St. Louis Rams are a division opponent and are the next team on the 49ers' schedule after Thursday's game against the Baltimore Ravens. With the 49ers' chasing after the Green Bay Packers, behind by one game, the team cannot afford to lose a division game.
Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks
When: Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 1:05 PM PT
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
Why you should care: A San Francisco 49ers win against the Baltimore Ravens and a Seattle Seahawks loss to the Washington Redskins would not only clinch a playoff spot for the 49ers, but it would also make the 49ers the 2011 NFC West Champions, and guarantee at least a home playoff game come January. The 49ers have not won the division since 2002, which was also their last playoff appearance. If the 49ers clinch a playoff spot this weekend, they will be the sixth team since the NFL expanded to a 16 game season in 1978 to clinch a playoff spot after 11 games, a list that includes the 1997 49ers.
My mistake: I earlier wrote that division record was the next tie-breaker after head-to-head. However, that is only among teams within the same division. The next tie-breaker after head-to-head and conference record is common opponents. Both the 49ers and Packers will have played the Lions after Thursday.