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49ers playoff odds: Why we’re rooting for the Dolphins tonight

A look at the current playoff standings heading into Monday night

San Francisco 49ers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The 49ers are still in great shape to make the playoffs after 16 weeks of the season. They were aided by a Los Angeles victory over the then 7-seeded Minnesota Vikings Sunday morning.

The reason to root for the Rams was that the 49ers could no longer win the NFC West, so having teams in contention for the final playoff seeds losing was ideal. The Rams are now a game up against the Cardinals in the NFC West and could win the division next week as they travel to Baltimore.

If the Rams beat the Ravens, their Week 18 matchup at home against the 49ers could be meaningless. Now that we know San Francisco’s chances of making the playoffs increase by 30% if they win out, Sean McVay and company won’t have anything to play for the final week of the season, which could mean they rest their starters.

A perfect Sunday would have seen the Giants beat the Eagles, and the Lions beat the Falcons, but neither of those happened. Instead, Dallas handled business over Washington’s Football team, which gave them their ninth loss of the season.

FiveThirtyEight gave the 49ers an 81% chance of making the playoffs entering Sunday. That percentage is down to 66%. Football Outsiders dropped the Niners' odds by 19% and now have a 62.8% chance to make the playoffs, giving a 34% chance for the 6-seed and a 29% chance for the 7-seed.

Monday Night Football looms large as the 49ers could use the Dolphins’ assistance with a win over the Saints. A Saints win would drop the 49ers to the seventh seed. However, projecting to next week, even with a 49er win over the Texans, if the Saints beat the hopeless Panthers at home and the Eagles beat Washington on the road, San Francisco is on the outside looking in at the playoff picture.

Playing around with ESPN’s playoff simulator, a playoff berth is challenging to come by without a win in Week 18. Even with a win and a Saints and Eagles win, the 49ers would be out of the playoffs.

You’re relying on the Falcons winning at home or Dallas to beat the Eagles. It’ll be interesting to see how the Cowboys play Week 18 with the division in hand. How important is the playoff seeding to them? These are the questions they’ll be asking themselves, along with potentially resting players that are banged up.

According to the New York Times interactive simulator, a Dolphins win tonight increases the 49ers playoff chances to 99%. Even if the Saints and Eagles win out, the 49ers hold the tiebreaker over Philly, which would give them the sixth seed. Of course, this all assumes a Week 18 win over the Rams for San Francisco.

Tua, I’m begging you, beat Ian Book. This shouldn’t be that big of an ask. The Saints have a playoff defense. They have a putrid offense with zero playmakers outside of Alvin Kamara. A lot of these scenarios where the 49ers miss the playoffs go out of the window with a New Orleans loss tonight.

Football is fluid, and the playoff picture can change by the hour every Sunday. So it’s frustrating that we have to talk through this, knowing the 49ers could have controlled their destiny. But that’s the bed this team has made for itself.