The San Francisco 49ers currently have a 1.5 game lead in the NFC West and can clinch at least a playoff spot with win over the New England Patriots on Sunday. With a 49ers win and a loss by the Seattle Seahawks this weekend, San Francisco will win the NFC West division for the second straight season. So it’s simple for the 49ers, win and they are in. Lose and they face the prospect of heading to Seattle in two weeks with only a half-game lead, with the NFC West title on the line.
Going into New England and beating the Patriots, where they have won 20 straight games in December, will not be easy. Even though Colin Kaepernick has played well, he will be making just his fifth start of his career, so you know Bill Belichick will be looking to exploit his inexperience. Despite the recent play by the 49ers there are no guarantees they will win against a very good and scary Patriots team, especially after their dismantling of the Texans this past Monday night. The 49ers are not only playing for playoff seeding and to stay atop of the NFC West, but also to make a huge statement to the rest of the NFL by beating Tom Brady on his home turf.
The Packers, Bears, Seahawks and Giants all sit between .5 and 1.5 games back of the 49ers in the playoff picture. So there is little room for a 49ers loss in the final three games of the season. Should San Francisco lose their next two games, a possibility with the way New England and Seattle have played at home this season, might mean the 49ers fall from the top of the NFC West and a second seed in the playoffs, to fighting for their playoff lives against the Cardinals in the season finale.
We all know how good New England is at home, but so is Seattle this season with a 6-0 record at CenturyLink Field, which includes wins over the Packers and Patriots. The playoffs start in Foxborough on Sunday night, in front of a national TV audience for the 49ers. Does December football get any better than this?