The 49ers are out of the playoff picture, so the rooting guide provides several flavors. The easiest view is what will impact the 49ers draft position. Additionally, there is the potential for games to impact Jim Harbaugh trade rumors. And if you are inclined to enjoy the playoff chase, there is plenty that can shake it up for everybody else in the NFC. We'll take a look at the Sunday and Monday schedule to get an idea of how each of these angles will be impacted.
The 49ers entered Week 16 in the No. 16 position in the 2015 NFL Draft. With the loss to San Diego, the 49ers drop to 7-8, and have a chance to climb at least a couple spots. The two biggest games for that are Minnesota at Miami, and Cleveland at Carolina. If Miami and Cleveland win, the 49ers move up a couple spots. The 49ers could still climb as high as ten with a combination of wins and losses this week and next week. Check out A Manimal's FanPost discussing the combinations.
Jim Harbaugh trade rumors
The University of Michigan remains the big name right now, with rumors running rampant. If Jim Harbaugh waits to see what the NFL holds for him after the season, those rumors could very well drown out the Michigan rumors. As such, there are some games that could impact the 49ers potential trade partners. The more certain teams lose, the more likely they fire their coach.
Vikings @ Dolphins: Joe Philbin seems like a dead man walking, with the Dolphins two games out of the wild card with two games to go. They very well could win their final two games, facing the Vikings and Jets at home, but it probably will not be enough to claim a playoff berth. I think Philbin is gone either way, but why not make it even easier with a Vikings win? Rooting interest: Vikings
Falcons @ Saints: Mike Smith seems to be teetering on the verge of getting fired, but if the Falcons somehow grabbed the NFC South, maybe he is saved for another year. A loss to the Saints would eliminate them from playoff contention, and that would seemingly end Mike Smith's tenure. Rooting interest: Saints
Patriots @ Jets: I can't really see how Rex Ryan survives this season, but he seems like the cockroach of coaches. Somehow he keeps surviving, but I have to think this is it for him. Rooting interest: Patriots
Bills @ Raiders: There is almost no chance Tony Sparano gets the job in Oakland, but might as well look for another loss. Rooting interest: Bills
NFC playoff picture
The Philadelphia Eagles lost on Saturday, opening the door for several potential playoff clinching scenarios. Their loss on Saturday means the following:
- Lions clinched a playoff berth. The Lions can clinch the NFC North with a win over the Bears and a Packers loss to the Bucs. They can clinch a first round bye with a win, Packers loss and Cowboys loss to the Colts
- Cowboys can clinch the NFC East with a win at home against the Colts
- Seahawks can clinch a playoff berth with a win over Arizona. The Seahawks can also clinch if they lose and the Cowboys win
- The Packers clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Bucs, or a loss and a Cowboys win.
Here is the full rundown of games for Week 16:
Minnesota Vikings @ Miami Dolphins
Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
Cleveland Browns @ Carolina Panthers
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
New York Giants @ St. Louis Rams
Buffalo Bills @ Oakland Raiders
Indianapolis Colts @ Dallas Cowboys
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals
Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals