The NFC West is no longer a concern for the 49ers as they wrapped that up in Week 15. Now, their eyes turn to the top two seeds with two weeks remaining.
Looking around the conference, it doesn’t appear that the Eagles or Vikings are interested in the #1 seed. Per Football Outsiders, Philadelphia has a 95 percent chance of winning the #1 seed, while the Minnesota Vikings have a 0.8 percent chance. San Francisco has a better chance than the fighting Kirk Cousins, as they’re given a 3.2 percent chance of getting a bye.
Let’s walk through the updated playoff picture:
- Eagles: 13-2 — Clinched playoff spot
- Vikings: 12-3 — Clinched NFC North
- 49ers: 11-4 — Clinched NFC West
- Buccaneers: 7-8
Wild Card race (top three advance)
- Cowboys: 11-5 — Clinched playoff spot
- Giants: 8-6-1
- Commanders: 7-7-1
- Seahawks: 7-8
- Lions: 7-8
- Packers: 7-8
The 49ers keep rolling, having reeled off eight victories in a row. So, they’re doing their part. Despite losing to the Cowboys, the Eagles didn’t miss a beat offensively without Jalen Hurts. Remember, if Philadelphia loses out, and Kyle Shanahan and crew keep rolling, the bye week will happen.
Of course, the Vikings must slip up along the way. They play at Green Bay Sunday, where Minnesota is an underdog, then again on the road against Justin Fields and the Bears. At the same time, Gardner Minshew finishes the season at home against the Saints and the Giants.
Football Outsiders gives the 49ers a 66 percent chance at the #2 seed and a 30 percent chance at the #3 seed. With the Raiders and Cardinals left on the schedule, and the Vikings at the Packers, the Niners are looking at two home games to start the playoffs.
Who will the 49ers play? The final two playoff seeds come down to five teams. As of now, San Francisco has just over a 50 percent chance of playing the Giants in the Wild Card round. New York finishes the season at home against the Colts and then on the road against Minshew Magic. One win and New York will clinch over the final two weeks.
The Commanders, who would be wise to turn to Carson Wentz, have the Browns and Cowboys. The Seahawks face the Jets and the Rams. Both of those teams are trending in the wrong direction. Washington has a question at the most pivotal position in the NFL, while Seattle looked lost without Tyler Lockett.
The two teams everyone seems to be rooting for to make the playoffs, the Lions and Packers, are somehow still in the hunt. So Detroit must win out and hope Seattle or Washington loses once or New York loses twice.
The Packers must win out, hope Seattle loses one game, then Washington loses twice. Another scenario for Green Bay is they win out, Seattle loses, and the Giants lose out. Don’t rule out the Niners playing Aaron Rodgers or Jared Goff in the first round.