NFL Playoff Picture: San Francisco 49ers Chase New Orleans Saints For First Round Bye

The San Francisco 49ers might be hitting that wall just as they get ready to enter the 2012 NFL Playoffs. It's too bad, because the New Orleans Saints are hitting their peak.

The Saints are currently at 11-3, standing at the number two seed and are charging hard into the playoffs. The 49ers are at 10-3, which means they have to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow night to stay on pace. The 49ers do own the tiebreaker over the Saints though because San Francisco has the better record in-conference.

So the 49ers have a lot to play for when they face the Steelers. A loss drops them behind a New Orleans team that finishes up its season at home against Atlanta and Carolina, and the Saints would have to drop one of those games. While New Orleans would have to win their final two games to ensure homefield, San Francisco isn't exactly playing dominating football down the stretch to make you think they can win out, even if their final two contests are against St. Louis and Seattle.

San Francisco needs every game they can get at home at the Stick. While Drew Brees and the Saints can probably win away from the Superdome, the 49ers are probably less-equipped to win away from home with Alex Smith.

To discuss the playoff hopes of the 49ers, head to Niners Nation.

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