clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

49ers remain the 6-seed heading into Week 16; 2 games behind the Rams and Cardinals

We map out each team’s remaining schedule

Atlanta Falcons v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The NFC playoff picture saw the Cardinals at the No. 1 seed just a couple of weeks ago. However, two games later, Arizona is in danger of not winning the NFC West. The Cardinals are now tied with the Rams after beating Seattle on Tuesday, at 10-4.

We had some internal debate among the Niners Nation staff whether who we wanted to win on Tuesday. Some feared that the Seahawks would win out and get into the playoffs, thus, wanting the Rams to win.

Although they’ve beaten the 49ers twice, Seattle isn’t a team that gets up for each opponent. The Seattle you see against the Niners and the Rams isn’t the same team against everyone else — hence, the reason they have eight losses. I don’t think they were ever a threat.

I was more interested in swapping positions with the Rams so San Francisco could gain ground on the 5-seed, eventually playing the Cardinals in the first round. As it stands, if Arizona slips up again, the Rams are likely the NFC West champions.

The 49ers remain two full games back of both the Rams and the Cardinals in the division. However, there’s still a path that exists for the Niners to be crowned as NFC champs. That would take Arizona losing out since they own the tiebreaker over San Francisco and the Rams losing two of its final three games, including Week 18 at home against the 49ers.

NFC playoff picture

1) Packers
2) Cowboys
3) Buccaneers
4) Cardinals
5) Rams
6) 49ers
7) Vikings

They’ll play a short-handed Browns team Saturday and finish out with the Vikings and Lions. After that, Green Bay is likely to win the No. 1 seed, and the playoffs will go through Lambeau Field if that happens.

I’m not sure if Dallas has been playing better or if it’s the fact that they’re playing the NFC East. The Cowboys finish the season against Washington, Arizona, and Philly.

Neither team can afford to slip up because Tampa Bay finishes the season with the Panthers twice and the Jets. The Buccaneers lost Chris Godwin to a season-ending injury on Sunday night. Mike Evans has a hamstring strain. They’ll get Antonio Brown back, but Godwin is a massive loss.

It took longer than expected, but Arizona did what they do every year. Objectively, they have to most challenging schedule left out of the top teams. First, the Cardinals face the Colts, who I believe is one of the better teams in the AFC, Saturday, then Dallas and have the Seahawks at home.

One reason why I wanted Seattle to beat the Rams was due to Los Angeles’s schedule. Next week, they travel to Minnesota, which is one of the more challenging places to play in the NFL, then are on the road against Baltimore before hosting the Niners during the season's final week. A loss to Seattle would have meant another loss puts them behind San Franciso, assuming the Niners win out.

The 49ers have a short week against a Titans team that’s unlikely to have A.J. Brown. Tennessee controls its own destiny, even with a loss Thursday. Because of that, I don’t think we’ll see the same type of effort if it were a “must-win” situation for Mike Vrabel’s team.

Beat the Titans and Texans, and, depending on how everything else plays out, Week 18 may not even matter.

The Vikings still have to face the Rams and Packers and get the Bears at home. I don’t know what to make of this team. Way back when I thought they’d finish as the 7-seed. They’re still the best of the rest, but that’s not saying much.

Philly plays each NFC East opponent, while the Saints play the Dolphins, Panthers, and Falcons. The final playoff spot will come down to tiebreakers.