With just two months remaining in the regular season, the playoff picture is starting to clear up in the National Football League. As week nine approaches, the San Francisco 49ers are basically guaranteed a playoff birth, while the Oakland Raiders have some work to do in a tough AFC West.
The 49ers would have to suffer from an epic collapse if they fail to make the playoffs. The Football Outsiders have the team pegged for 12.2 wins this season and give San Francisco a 99.8% chance of winning the NFC West. As of week nine, the 49ers also have a 82.1% chance of earning a bye week during the first round of the playoffs.
Similar to Football Outsiders, ESPN has the 49ers as the two-seed in the NFC and gives them a 99.8% chance of making the playoffs. In addition, they also include this blurb on the team and why they have been so successful in 2011.
Believe it: They're the best defense in the NFC. Put a league-average defense in the same games, and their opponents will give up almost 54 more points. Think the playoff percentage is too high? They have a four-game divisional lead already and still have five NFC West games remaining.
Opposite of the 49ers, the Raiders have a lot of work to do. While they currently sit at 4-3, ESPN and Football Outsiders have different views on the organization because of the tough remaining schedule.
ESPN projects Oakland to finish the season 8-8 and miss out on the playoffs. They have the Chiefs as the representative because of projected head-to-head matchups. On the contrary, Football Outsiders gives Oakland the edge over Kansas City and sees the team making the playoffs 43.7% of the time.
Fun stuff. It's going to be a wild ride for both of the teams in the Bay Area.