The San Francisco 49ers currently sit at 6-1 with a four game lead in the NFC West over the Seattle Seahawks. Their playoff odds are over 99% and they seem to be a veritable lock to win the NFC West. Although they will likely lock up the division in the not too distant future, the 49ers still have plenty beyond that worth playing for.
They currently hold the second best record in the NFC and thus have a shot at a first round bye and home field advantage. That leaves them with plenty of opportunities to do some scoreboard watching. Accordingly, we are going to have some picks of games that could impact the 49ers playoff positioning as the season moves on. We are almost through the bye weeks, which means there will be plenty of action during the coming playoff chase.
Green Bay Packers @ San Diego Chargers: While I do believe the Chargers could provide a stiff challenge to the Packers this week, I also think the Packers are going to keep on rolling. They face a tough schedule the rest of the way, but the Packers are in the zone right now. There is nothing to indicate a loss is coming anytime soon. PICK: Packers
Atlanta Falcons @ Indianapolis Colts: The Falcons are currently 4-3 and one half game back of the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South. They sit two games back of the 49ers, but remain a threat for a possible first round bye if they can get hot. They should have little trouble in Indianapolis this week. PICK: Falcons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints: The Saints are in first place and looking to move a game and a half up on the Bucs and Falcons this week. They lost in Tampa earlier this season, but should be able to even it up in New Orleans this Sunday. They are a stiff challenge to the 49ers first round by chances, but their loss in St. Louis shook that up pretty well. PICK: Saints
New York Giants @ New England Patriots: The Giants are one game back of the 49ers for that second first round bye and face a tough battle in Foxboro. This is a tough one to pick and I actually think it will go down to the wire, but home field edge should help the Patriots, if just barely. PICK: Patriots
Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys: This basically is the last stand for the Seattle Seahawks. They are four games back of the 49ers with nine games to go. The odds of a comeback are fairly astronomical, but they have to start somewhere. I don't think it happens, but crazy things happen from time to time. PICK: Cowboys
St. Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals: The battle for last place. The Rams seem like the second best team in the division, although that doesn't say a whole lot given the state of the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks. But I actually think St. Louis ends the season in second place. PICK: Rams