The San Francisco 49ers lost the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday, dropping to 7-5. I realize plenty of people have no interest in discussing playoff implications, because after all, the offense is awful. They can't score enough points on a regular basis against good teams, so how are they expected to win enough games to actually earn a playoff berth?
That being said, Thursday's results do leave their playoff hopes alive, if faintly. The team is the No. 8 team in the playoff race. They sit a full game back of the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions for the two wild card berths, and they are also a game back of the Dallas Cowboys. Thursday saw the Lions bounce back from a slow start to pummel the Chicago Bears. After that, the Cowboys were soundly beaten by the Eagles. The Cowboys-Eagles game really did not matter for 49ers purposes, because a loss by either team helped them. Of course, the 49ers lost, so it was all for naught.
At this point, the 49ers head into the weekend trailing in the necessary tiebreakers. The Seahawks have the head-to-head win, and sit at 2-1 in the division, while the 49ers are 1-3. The Lions are a game up on the 49ers, but they have a 6-2 conference record, putting them ahead of the 49ers 6-4 conference record. If somehow the 49ers, Cowboys and Lions all finished tied for the final wild card berth at the end of the season, conference record would be the first tiebreaker for them.
Heading into this weekend, there are still a few pertinent games for 49ers fans interested in at least considering the possibility of the playoffs. The 8-3 Green Bay Packers host the 9-2 New England Patriots. A loss would drop the Packers to 8-4, thus bringing one team further down into the chaos that is emerging for the wild card berths.
And yet, at this point, I can't imagine many 49ers fans think the team will win nearly enough games to get into the playoffs. The defense is playing great for the most part, while the offense can't put one foot in front of the other without tripping up. I'd like to think the 49ers can figure something out and build from it, but they have shown nothing to indicate that is actually going to happen. They have ten days until traveling across the Bay to face the Oakland Raiders. They desperately need a win, but they just as desperately need a strong win. They have yet to truly blow anybody out. They had a big lead on the Dallas Cowboys, but took their foot off the pedal and cruised to victory. But since then, there has not been a single 60-minute offensive performance that impressed us. I don't know what it will take to do this, but they need to figure something out if they want to actually remain in the playoff chase.
NFC playoff standings
1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)
2. Philadelphia Eagles (8-3)
3. Green Bay Packers (8-3)
4. Atlanta Falcons (4-7)
5. Seattle Seahawks (8-4)
6. Detroit Lions (8-4)
7. Dallas Cowboys (8-4)
8. San Francisco 49ers (7-5)