The NFC playoff picture is beginning to take shape after the 49ers defeated the Saints 48-46 on Sunday afternoon at the Superdome, a game that could wind up deciding the No. 1 seed.
It was a thrilling game, one of the best of the regular season, with the Saints going ahead on Drew Brees' 18-yard touchdown pass to Tre'Quan Smith with 53 seconds remaining, Brees' fifth touchdown pass of the game. But a 39-yard pass to George Kittle on fourth-and-2 combined with a face-mask penalty by Saints safety Marcus Williams put the 49ers in position for Robbie Gould to win the game with a 30-yard field goal as time expired.
The Bears' faint playoff hopes remain alive, but they didn't get a big upset that would have helped them as the NFC North-leading Packers defeated the Redskins 20-15 at Lambeau Field and the Vikings beat the Lions 20-7 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
What does it all mean? With three games remaining, the Bears (7-6) are two games behind the Vikings (9-4) for the sixth and final seed in the NFC playoffs. The Bears trail the Packers (10-3) by three games.
Here are how the NFC seeds stand (entering Sunday night):
1. 49ers (11-2), won at Saints, 48-46
2. Saints (10-3), lost to 49ers, 48-46
3. Packers (10-3), defeated Redskins, 20-15
4. Cowboys (6-7), lost at Bears, 31-24
5. Seahawks (10-2) at Rams, Sunday night