The San Francisco 49ers host the Arizona Cardinals in week eleven looking to move a step closer to clinching the NFC West, and eventually a first round bye. The 49ers will be playing only their second divisional matchup after rolling through their non-division play to date with a 7-1 record. They have two more inter-conference matchups against Baltimore and Pittsburgh, but otherwise are left with five divisional games.
If the 49ers can keep on winning, they will be able to lock up a first round bye in December. They hold a game and a half lead over the New Orleans Saints and a two-game lead over the New York Giants, which means they are in the driver's seat. Nonetheless, a few losses by their conference-mates would certainly help matters. Here is a rundown of games with some significance to the 49ers.
Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams: The 49ers are closing in on the division title but it is still worth keeping an eye on the results that could help close the deal a little quicker. The Seahawks are tied with the Cardinals, so a 49ers win and a Rams win would give the 49ers a six game lead with six games to go and a chance to clinch in week twelve with a win over Baltimore. Count this as a vote for Steven Jackson. PICK: Rams
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants: The loss to the 49ers leaves the Giants with only a single game lead over the Dallas Cowboys. This week's game becomes a must-win for the Giants just to maintain their division lead, let alone consider first round bye options. The Giants are two games back, but it's really like three games since the 49ers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. With Michael Vick dealing with broken ribs and the Eagles personifying Team Turmoil, this is not a difficult pick at this point. PICK: Giants
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Green Bay Packers: The Packers remain a game up on the 49ers for the top seed in the NFC. That seems close, but given how the Packers are playing it is oh so far. They have a tough matchup against the Bucs, but as they say, do not pick against the streak. PICK: Packers