The NFC playoff race is shaping up to be quite a fun one to watch throughout the end of this regular season. In week 11, the New Orleans Saints furthered their positioning in the division as the leader in the NFC South by beating the San Francisco 49ers in the waning seconds of the game.
For the 49ers, this was their second straight defeat. Last week, their offense couldn’t get anything going against the now-elite Carolina Panthers and their stout defense. This week, Colin Kaepernick and company managed to put 20 points on the board, but it wasn’t enough to take down Drew Brees and the mighty Saints. In the end, inconsistency equaled a 72.9 rating for Kaepernick and a loss for San Francisco.
At this point in the season, there are several teams with life breathed into them in regard to their playoff hopes. At 6-4, the 49ers are now tied with the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears record-wise, but manage to have the sixth seed in the playoff race at the moment due to their conference record. Arizona and Chicago, though, are right behind them.
The Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys are both 5-5 and still have plenty of time to make some things happen as well. Dallas is going to be battling it out with the Philadelphia Eagles, currently 6-5, for that division crown and maybe even the final playoff position in the NFC. For the 49ers to lose two straight games and be in this position is simply a dangerous thing.
The biggest threat right now to the 49ers is both the Bears and Detroit Lions, and maybe even the Packers. Detroit is also 6-4 but holds a tie-breaking lead in the division right now. This could wind up meaning that the Lions, Packers or Bears could sneak into that final playoff spot over San Francisco if they slip up toward the end of this season.
The 49ers only face two winning teams for the rest of the year, which is good news. But, the schedule for both the Bears and Lions isn’t exactly frightening either. One trap game loss could equal an ousting when it comes down to the final playoff seeding, though. San Francisco has to be extremely careful going forward if they want to remain in this position and, in addition, hope that a couple of the teams trailing them cough up a game or two as well.