I originally believed and posted that I thought the 49ers dream playoff scenario was to win out and get the 5th seed, by having the saints or panthers losing at least 5 games (my preference was to have Carolina as the other wildcard). I never actually believed it would happen, it was just hope (hell I thought we would lose to the Seahawks and Tampa bay).
But here we are on the cusp of that 5th seed, but looking at the remaining schedule, possible playoff foes in the wildcard, and the belief that the saints will lose in the rematch with the panthers; I've changed my mind. If you would, humor me and hear me out.
We have a real chance to lock up a playoff spot next week in what will be an emotional game for the players, coaches and the organization, as well as the fans with a win on Monday night. Now I'm going to assume the Seahawks defeat the cardinals (much of this argument is based on that fact) and we defeat the falcons.
What are we really playing for at that point? If the panthers defeat the saints as I believe they will that will make the saints a wildcard. I don't have any faith in their ability to win a road playoff game. And if they don't then we would be going to Seattle in the divisional round even if we are a 5th seed.
You also have to know that the cardinals, despite being out of the playoff race (in the above scenario), is going to be playing very hard for the divisional win. We would be coming off of a very emotional game, having already clenched a playoff spot, off a short week on the road. What could go wrong?
I'm of the mind now that if we can clinch next week against the falcons, we shut down anyone that has lingering injuries, and any other important pieces we have the depth to do so. I say give gore rest, manningham, Crabtree, miller, VD. I mean whoever really needs it, give it to them. There really isn't much difference between Dallas, eagles, Chicago, packers, or Detroit . They are all teams with high powered passing attacks with suspect defenses. They all have shown inconsistent rushing attacks as well.
I would much rather not risk injury in that last game against a fired up Arizona team, and give guys rest the week before the playoffs start. I really don't think the week will cause rust and I think it will really benefit the team to be rested. But most importantly it will help us avoid injury to key players in the last game.
What do you guys think?