These talks of the 49ers practically clinching a playoff birth 4 games into the season are not limited to Niners Nation. In the past couple of days i have noticed Trent Dilfer and some other national figures pretty much guarantee the 49ers a playoff birth. When talking about Crabtree's contribution to the team Dilfer said "He will contribute more in the playoffs"
Now my question is. Is it premature to anoint the 49ers a playoff team already? They are 3-0 against the weak NFC West, and all the other teams appear to be heading towards a final regular season record of under .500. It does appear the 49ers are headed to the playoffs. But what may appear to be true this week could turn into a question mark just within a week or two, especially in the up and downs of the NFL season. It's not like our offense is setting the world on fire, though they continue to improve every week, it has more of a look of a 7-9 team. This of course is where one of the league's elite defenses come into play. Our offense doesn't need to put up 400 yards and 30 points game in and game out, sometimes they won't even need to put up 20 points. But lets be realistic for a second, all of our wins have come against teams from the NFC West with a combines 2-9 record in 2009, and 17-31 record in 2007. One of those two 2009 wins came for the Seahawks against the Rams in week 1.
This said i am looking at the 49ers going either 10-6 or 11-5 this season. One thing that has surprised me regarding the landscape of our schedule is how it has changed over the course of the first weeks. For example, games against the Titans, Falcons, Eagles and Packers that looked to be incredibly daunting coming into this season all of a sudden appear to be winnable. Those four teams have a combined 6-8 record in 2009. Who thought that was going to be the case at season's start? While other games against the likes of Arizona and Seattle look to be much easier then originally thought. Amazing enough the only game i can see us not really competing in and having a chance to win is against the Colts, and even then any given Sunday right?
The point of this thread is not to continue rambling on, so i will finish it up with this. Before we book our playoff tickets lets see where we are in well say 4 games after we play the Titans. At this point it will be evident if we are heading to the playoffs. The reason i say this is because not only can we look at our schedule, we can look at the other schedules within our division and how they will fare. Well at least the Cardinals, because they appear the only team capable of contending with the 49ers in the division. And there next five games are (bye in week 4) Vs- Houston, At- Seattle, At- New York(G), Vs- Carolina, At- Chicago. Now realistically they are only going to win two of those games at the most. Houston is playing much better and Seattle will have Hasselbek. So even if we go 2-2 in our next four games we will have a one game lead with the road win against them. This of course if the Cardinals don't go 1-4, which is likely.