Who do the 49ers play next? Explaining potential opponents in 2024 NFC championship game

Headlining this week’s divisional round is a matchup between two of the most historic franchises in all of football: the 49ers and the Packers.

It doesn’t get much bigger than this. San Francisco and Green Bay are two of the league’s most successful franchises, combining for nine Super Bowl wins and 12 Super Bowl appearances between them.

They also tend to engage in wildly entertaining contests. From Terrell Owens’ sprawling catch to break Green Bay hearts back in the 1998 wild card to Colin Kaepernick’s historic display in 2012, it seems classic displays are in the cards when these two behemoths meet.

This year’s clash should be no exception. With a spot in the NFC championship game on the line, both teams are expected to empty the tank. Two of the league’s youngest quarterbacks are set to fire off lightning bolts under the bright Levi’s Stadium lights. And for that, we’re grateful.

MORE: Re-ranking the 8 teams left in 2024 playoffs, from 49ers to Texans

But what comes next for the winner of Saturday’s game? Just who can these two NFC heavyweights come up against in the next round of the playoffs? The Sporting News examines the potential opponents the 49ers and Packers could meet in the NFC championship game.

NFL playoff bracket 2024

NFL playoff bracket divisional 2024

(SN illustration)

Who will the 49ers play in the NFC championship game?

San Francisco advanced to the NFC championship with a 24-21 win over the Packers in the divisional round on Saturday night.

No. 3 Lions vs. No. 4 Buccaneers

The 49ers will have to face the winner of the NFC’s other divisional round contest between the No. 3 seed Lions and No. 4 seed Buccaneers.

San Francisco already knows where the game will be, as Kyle Shanahan’s team will host the Lions-Buccaneers winner in Santa Clara on Sunday, Jan. 28. 

MORE: Full NFL playoff schedule for 2024

How have the 49ers performed against the Lions?

San Francisco is yet to have faced Detroit so far. However, as two of the conference’s top sides heading into the season, the matchup certainly seems poised to be an enthralling affair.

How have the 49ers performed against the Buccaneers?

The Niners enjoyed a fruitful day at the office when meeting the Buccaneers back in Week 11, vanquishing their pirate-clad opposition, 27-14. Whether that will be the case this time around is anyone’s guess.

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