The 49ers have two pivotal games on their schedule before they can reset and rest during their bye week. Now is around the time when we can start to look ahead at playoff projections.
Per Football Outsiders, a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7 sliced the Niners' chances of making the playoffs by 20.9 percent. Heading into Week 8, here’s a playoff projection of the NFC West that includes the percentages the 49ers have of winning the division, wildcard, and each seed:
Image courtesy of Football Outsiders
As you can see, San Francisco has a 28.2 percent chance to win the division, with a 46.6 percent chance to make the playoffs. That divisional number would hike significantly with a win this week over the Rams and a Seahawks loss to the Giants.
The 49ers are the only team in the NFC West that hasn’t lost a divisional game. They look to continue that streak against the Rams. And even though Seattle sits at 4-3, they still have to face Tampa Bay, the Rams twice, the Niners, the Chiefs, and two formidable opponents in the Raiders and Jets. The other shoe will drop on the Seahawks during the second half of the season.
But that won’t matter if the 49ers fail to take care of business. The good news is that we’re a year removed from this team putting together three separate winning streaks in the second half.
There are no more Patrick Mahomes’ remaining on the schedule. A better way to look at who the Niners play for the rest of the year is based on the opponents' defense. Here’s how each team ranks in defensive DVOA:
So, of the ten remaining opponents, only two land in the top 15, and one of those happens to be a divisional opponent that Kyle Shanahan knows like the back of his hand. Assuming the defense stays relatively healthy, there’s no reason the offense should struggle to put points up as the season goes along.