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49ers have little playoff leverage vs. Cowboys, but next 5 games have chance to be huge

The 49ers face a crucial stretch of games over the next month.

If the San Francisco 49ers continue to play like they did in Weeks 2 and 3, they are not going to the playoffs. I realize this might stun some of you, but I’m willing to go out on that limb.

This week against the Dallas Cowboys, the 49ers have a chance to change the narrative of the past two weeks, and start pushing things forward. The team could crap the bed entirely and this season could get uglier in a hurry, but they do have a chance to turn things around to some extent.

ESPN’s Brian Burke provides numerous advanced stats for them, including a look at playoff probabilities. Earlier this week, he posted a look at playoff probability leverage. It shows where teams stand in terms of playoff probability, and what each Week 4 matchup means for the given team. As we can see, the 49ers are on the low end in terms of leverage. Such is what happens when you are 1-2 and facing a non-divisional opponent.

That being said, this game against the Cowboys and the following four games have a chance to at least make this season a little more interesting. There were numerous concerns about the 49ers schedule when it was released back in April. They went through a rough patch against the Panthers and Seahawks, but their next five games offer up something resembling an opportunity:

Week 4: vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 5: vs. Arizona Cardinals (TNF)
Week 6: @ Buffalo Bills
Week 7: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: vs. New Orleans Saints

The 49ers season thus far tells us all five of these games are winnable, but all five of these games are also losable. Given my preseason expectations, if the 49ers walked away from the next six weeks sitting at 4-4, I’d be plenty happy. There is plenty of context to factor in, but these next five weeks could be the make or break for this season being viewed as the start of a turnaround, as opposed to more of the same.

How do you see the 49ers coming out on the other side of these next five games? It might be better to wait until after we see what they do against the Cowboys and then ask what you think their record is after the next four games of this stretch. If they play well at home, I see a good chance they walk away from this at 4-4. If they struggle, particularly on defense, and lose to the Cowboys, I could see 2-6 as the result at the halfway point.