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Week 6 NFL schedule: Top storylines and rooting guide

We break down the big story lines in Week 6, and what to make of Sunday's schedule. What will impact the 49ers?

Otto Greule Jr

The NFL season is just over a quarter of the way done, and I thought now was as good a time as any to bring back the weekly rooting guide. It is too early to declare most anybody a front runner for anything, but it doesn't mean we can't clarify who we are rooting against in a given week.

Here is a rundown of games at least a little bit pertinent to the 49ers. Some have direct implications, while others are a bit more tangentially connected. Either way, I've included who I will be rooting for in the game. Feel free to offer your own suggestions. The games are ranked in order of importance as I see them.

1. Dallas Cowboys @ Seattle Seahawks

Until the playoff picture settles, the Seahawks are frequently going to occupy this slot. The division is up for grabs, and whichever team claims NFC West glory will likely be a front-runner to come out of the NFC West for Super Bowl 49. The Seahawks are a half game up on the 49ers, and as long as they are bunched together, we will be rooting against Seattle.

On the other hand, Dallas is off to a strong 4-1 start, and a win over the Seahawks could be what convinces everybody this Cowboys squad is for real. I still think Dallas stumbles, but if they were to beat Seattle, I think we'd have to take them for real. I'd be fine seeing the 49ers potentially have to go to Dallas in the playoffs, but for now it's way too early to be overly concerned about that.

Rooting interest: Go Cowboys? Or maybe we root for a tie?

2. Washington @ Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are tied with Seattle atop the division, and hold a win in hand against the 49ers. I think the 49ers will even that out when they meet up later this winter, but for now, I'm always down for seeing Arizona lose. I don't think this will be of huge significant later this season, but you never know how it will shake out.

Rooting interest: Go Fightin' Snyders!

3. New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles

The 49ers have a win in hand against Philadelphia, and still have to face the Giants next month. The Eagles are tied with Dallas atop the NFC East at 4-1. It's too early to be concerned about home field advantage in January, but I'm still down for an Eagles loss. Of course, do we want to see a confident Giants squad? Things are different from 2011 and 2012 when these two squared off three times in a year, but the Giants remain a bit of a nemesis.

Rooting interest: Go Giants

4. Chicago Bears @ Atlanta Falcons

This game is a matchup of 2-3 teams trying to hang around their division races. The Bears are a game back of the Packers and Lions in an ugly NFC North. The Falcons are a game back of Carolina in a division that is up for grabs with nobody really taking control. The 49ers lost to the Bears already, and don't face the Falcons. I think the 49ers could beat either team down the road, but I'll stick with the NFC South squad to try and keep New Orleans away from the division, and potential home field advantage.

Rooting interest: Go Falcons

5. Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings

Heading into Sunday, this game has more bearing on first place in the NFC North than Bears-Falcons has on either division. However, Bears-Falcons gets the nod because of the Saints impact. For this game, I'm always down for seeing the Lions lose. At the same time, I also would prefer the Packers not claim the division. The 49ers can obviously beat the Packers, but I am leaning more toward just preferring they not get a home playoff game.

Rooting interest: Go Lions

6. Green Bay Packers @ Miami Dolphins

It's always fun seeing the Packers lose! Especially on the road against a weak AFC team.

Rooting interest: Go Dolphins

7. Carolina Panthers @ Cincinnati Bengals

The NFC South is all over the place, so I suppose I could root for the Panthers to keep New Orleans out of the top of the division. But I'd much prefer just seeing further chaos in the South. And I enjoy this Bengals squad to some extent. We'll see how well they play without A.J. Green in the lineup.

Rooting interest: Go Bengals