The San Francisco 49ers lost to the Carolina Panthers Sunday afternoon, and suddenly find themselves firmly in the wildcard race. The team was already in the wildcard race, but standing a game back of the Seahawks meant the division was clearly within reach. The Sunday loss combined with the Seahawks win over the Falcons only adds a game to 49ers deficit, but it is a big game.
The 49ers get one more game with the Seahawks at Candlestick Park. If they play like they did Sunday, it won't really matter, but even with a 49ers win, there is still another game to make up. The Seahawks have had their inconsistencies, but they have the schedule edge at this point. At this point, the odds are not good of Candlestick Park closing with a playoff game. It's not impossible by any stretch, but the 49ers have a lot of work to do if they want to play any January games at home.
Monday Night Football features the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins, so it won't impact the NFC playoff picture through Week 10. Here is what we've got:
No. 1 Seattle Seahawks 9-1 (NFC West leader)
No. 2 New Orleans Saints 7-2 (NFC South leader)
No. 3 Detroit Lions 6-3 (NFC North leader)
No. 4 Dallas Cowboys 5-5 (NFC East leader)
No. 5 Carolina Panthers 6-3 (Wild Card)
No. 6 San Francisco 49ers 6-3 (Wild Card)
On the outside looking in
1. Chicago Bears (5-4)
2. Green Bay Packers (5-4)
3. Arizona Cardinals (5-4)
4. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)
5. Washington (3-6)
6. New York Giants (3-6)
Draft pick watch
1. St. Louis Rams (4-6)
2. Atlanta Falcons (2-7)
3. Minnesota Vikings (2-7)
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-8)
I include 3-6 Washington and the 3-6 Giants, but not the 4-6 Rams because Washington and New York get the benefit of being only a game and a half back of the 5-5 Cowboys and Eagles. God bless the NFC Least!
The Rams had a big win, but their inconsistency leaves them out of the wildcard race at this point. I'm sure some will disagree.
Week 11 Schedule
49ers @ Saints - Yep, this is kind of a big deal. The 49ers are banged up following their loss to the Panthers. If they are missing Eric Reid and/or Vernon Davis, they face a serious uphill battle. It's already going to be tough enough heading into the Superdome, but doing so short-handed makes life that much more difficult. Captain Obvious statement, I realize.
Ravens @ Bears - One of the more important inter-conference matchups in Week 11, as these are two of the teams just on the outside looking in. Both teams are only a game back in their respective wildcard races, with the Bears also a game out of their division.
Washington @ Eagles - The NFC Least is on display with two teams right in the thick of things. If Washington loses this game, you can just about stick a fork in them, assuming you haven't done so already. However, if Washington can spring the upset in Philly, the NFC East remains thoroughly uninterestingly interesting.
Lions @ Steelers - Detroit got a huge win on the road against the Bears and now find themselves in first place in the NFC North. They need to keep their pedal to the metal as they head to Pittsburgh.
Cardinals @ Jaguars - The Cardinals are only a game back in the wildcard race. With San Francisco facing a tough game in New Orleans, Arizona could climb into a tie with the 49ers. San Francisco holds the head-to-head tiebreaker. More importantly, the Jaguars are on fire coming off their first win of the season!
Packers @ Giants - The Packers will roll out Scott Tolzien for his first career start! Tolzien entered in place of an injured Seneca Wallace on Sunday, and Mike McCarthy has already announced him as the starter for Sunday. The Giants managed a win over the Raiders, but still have plenty of question marks.
Vikings @ Seahawks - The 49ers need Seattle to start losing some games, but I'm not holding my breath on this one. Yes, Seattle barely bear the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home, but I don't see a repeat of that performance this week.