Now what? The San Francisco 49ers, 9 games into the season, are 6-3 and holding on to the last playoff spot in the NFC by a single game. Next up: the New Orleans Saints. Then comes a Monday night matchup in Washington, D.C, a home tilt against superhuman Tavon Austin and the dangerous St. Louis Rams before the (hopefully) epic showdown vs. the Seattle Seahawks.
This is by no means an easy stretch. Without a decent receiving corps, and with Colin Kaepernick struggling to move the ball down the field, a playoff spot is by no means guaranteed. The 49ers will have to earn it.
This may be the first season the 49ers do not get a bye in the playoffs under Jim Harbaugh it likely will be the first time Pete Carroll bests him for the NFC West crown. This, however, may be a good thing. Harbaugh likes to talk about “adversity.” To be honest, San Francisco has not had much of it under his tenure. They’ve worked hard and enjoyed their rewards. This season, there may not be as much to enjoy. Perhaps, though, it will make the team stop shooting itself in the foot a la Kyle Williams in the NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants. After all, the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl as a Wild Card a few years ago, as did the Giants. If San Francisco deals with this situation the right way, good things can still happen.