The 49ers face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in the Superdome, looking to grab their eighth win and further solidify their position among the top two teams in the NFC. The 49ers moved into the two seed last week with their win over the Chicago Bears. The loss dropped the Bears into a tie with the Green Bay Packers. Since the Packers beat the Bears in their first meeting this year, they hold the tiebreaker for now.
Meanwhile, the 49ers hold a game and a half lead over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West, and will look to push a little closer to their second straight NFC West title Here is how the NFC playoff picture currently stands heading into Week 12:
1. Atlanta Falcons: 9-1
2. San Francisco 49ers: 7-2-1
3. Green Bay Packers: 7-3
4. New York Giants: 6-4
5. Chicago Bears: 7-3
6. Seattle Seahawks: 6-4
Bye weeks are officially complete, so we'll have a chance for even more shake-up. Here is the NFC schedule for Week 12:
Vikings (6-4) @ Bears (7-3)
Seahawks (6-4) @ Dolphins
Falcons (9-1) @ Buccaneers (6-4)
Rams (3-6-1) @ Cardinals (4-6)
Packers (7-3) @ NY Giants (6-4)
The 49ers-Saints matchup is the big as far as we are concerned, but there are some pertinent rooting interests as we roll through Week 12. Although the Bears are technically behind the Packers because of the tie-breaker, that 7-3 record still puts them a half game back of the 49ers. A Bears win, 49ers loss and Packers loss and the Bears are back in the second position. Accordingly, GO VIKINGS!
The Seahawks-Dolphins game is an easy one to figure given that the Seahawks are only a game and a half back of the 49ers. As for the all-NFC West divisional matchup, I suppose we can say Go Rams, but it's not a particularly huge deal either way.
Falcons-Buccaneers is a biggie this week, and 49ers fans should be rooting for the Bucs to knock the Falcons down a notch. The Falcons hold a game and a half lead on the 49ers for the best record in the NFC. It will take some work for the 49ers to pass them, but the opportunity is there.
Packers-Giants features two teams I would prefer not rooting for at this point. If I had to pick one, it would be the Giants. Although they are also in the race for one of the first round byes, dropping the Packers would provide the 49ers with an opportunity to put further space between them. Count me in for that.