The San Francisco 49ers are now entering what I call “The Countdown,” where they start accumulating wins to get out of this seeding race as early as possible and rest up for a playoff push. They right are first in the NFC, but that can change with their brutal second-half schedule coming up. Luckily, the Falcons did the 49ers a huge favor by beating the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans 26-9.
The Saints are seen as possible Super Bowl contenders. If the 49ers make the playoffs and go to New Orleans, that is going to be mighty tough. The Falcons made the Saints seem ordinary. It was a divisional game, so that may have had something to do with it (they are always weird, just look at the Arizona Cardinals game), but the loss will put the Saints back in the playoff race. Possibly two games back depending on how things turn out Monday Night.
The other big playoff game happens today with the 49ers taking on the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football. You can bet a lot more than just NFC West rivals will be rooting against the 49ers that night because of the playoff implications this has if the 49ers can beat the Seahawks, that gives them a two-game lead over the Saints.
We’ll go more into playoff seeding in particular as the weeks go on, including the Green Bay Packers win over the Carolina Panthers Sunday. Right now, the 49ers are in control of their destiny, but with that brutal schedule, they will need all the help they can get for the next eight weeks.