NFL Playoff Picture, Week 14: The Wild, Wild NFC West

While we await Monday Night Football tonight, week 14 of the NFL schedule is complete as far as the NFC West is concerned and the NFL playoff picture is further muddied for the division. The 49ers victory couple with St. Louis' loss at the hands of the New Orleans Saints leaves out our beloved 49ers a mere game out of first place with three games remaining, including two divisional games. The Arizona Cardinals remain alive in the race, but there their chances are much more slim given the divisional tiebreaker.

The 49ers find themselves in an intriguing matchup this Thursday at San Diego as both teams are desperately scratching to stay alive in their respective divisional races. The Chargers are in arguably a better position than the 49ers, but without a shot at KC or Oakland the rest of the way and the Raiders holding the head-to-head tiebreaker with them, Thursday is pretty close to a must-win for the Chargers. They could get in without a win but it would be incredibly tough to claim the division.

The 49ers, on the other hand, are in a situation of "it would be nice to win, but it's not a must-win." After the jump I've posted the current NFC West standings and the various team's schedules. The 49ers benefit a bit more from the schedule gods than the Chargers (probably because the gods think Philip Rivers is an insufferable d-bag). Although this Chargers game is a tough one for the 49ers, the Rams and Seahawks don't have it any easier.

The Rams will host the Kansas City Chiefs who may or may not have Matt Cassel under center. Given that he just had an appendectomy I'm not holding my breath, but who knows what medicine and pain killers can do for a guy. A lot of folks talk about winning the final two divisional games, but people need to remember that the Rams are playing some solid ball at home. Week 16 at St. Louis is a winnable game, but it's going to be a tough one. Maybe not as tough as this Thursday against San Diego, but tough in its own right.

The Seahawks on the other hand will be hosting the Atlanta Falcons who will be looking to maintain their one game divisional lead over New Orleans. The Seahawks are a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde team when it comes to home and away so this is a tough one to call. The Seahawks seemed like the team to beat in the division a couple weeks ago, but in reality that title changes from week to week.

I realize some folks don't want to get their hopes up for a possible playoff spot, and that's certainly fine. However, that's not going to stop me for continuing to wish for the playoffs for Christmas. I'm sure I'm setting myself up for disappointment, but I can live with that. The NFC West may very well produce a 7-9 division champ. If it's the 49ers, that's fine with me.

NFC West Standings

1t.

Seattle

6-7

St. Louis

6-7

3

San Francisco

5-8

4

Arizona

4 - 9

NFC West Remaining Schedule

St. Louis

12/19

vs. Kansas City

8-5

12/26

vs. San Francisco

5-8

1/2

at Seattle

6-7

Seattle

12/19

vs. Atlanta

11-2

12/26

at Tampa Bay

8-5

1/2

vs. St. Louis

6-7

San Francisco

12/16

at San Diego

7-6

12/26

at St. Louis

6-7

1/2

vs. Arizona

4-9

Arizona

12/19

at Carolina

1-12

12/26

vs. Dallas

4-8

1/2

vs. San Francisco

5-8

In This Article

Teams
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