The San Francisco 49ers could stand a little help from their friends in Week 13, as the NFL playoffs are beginning to take form. Here’s a Niners fan’s rooting guide.
With a 10-1 record, the San Francisco 49ers essentially control their own destiny, as the NFL playoffs go. Entering Week 13, the Niners don’t necessarily need any help from other teams around the league, as long as they handle their own business.
But that won’t be easy, either.
San Francisco travels to face the red-hot 9-2 Baltimore Ravens this weekend before taking on the 10-2 New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome the following week. New Orleans guaranteed to at least stay pace with the 49ers by beating the Atlanta Falcons 26-18 on Thursday Night Football, which only adds more fire to an already-hot NFC playoff picture.
As of now, the NFC playoff standings are as follows:
- 49ers (10-1)
- Saints (10-2)
- Packers (8-3)
- Cowboys (6-6)
- Seahawks (9-2)
- Vikings (8-3)
Aside from the .500 Cowboys, who benefit from a weak NFC East, the squads at the top of the NFC are all bunched tightly together, meaning a 49ers loss in Baltimore could have serious consequences.
Even with a win, the Niners certainly wouldn’t complain about a little breathing room in the standings.
As such, here’s how your rooting efforts should go this weekend.
Packers @ Giants — Giants
The 49ers defeating the Packers is already a huge step, but pushing Green Bay’s record down even further would have its benefits, particularly if the Wild Card becomes involved.
The Packers still own the NFC North. But if the Minnesota Vikings win (more on that in a second), Green Bay would swap places in the standings if the New York Giants pull off the upset. And if for some reason the Niners find themselves falling in the order, owning the No. 5 seed surely would be better than the No. 6 spot, although neither is particularly ideal.
Speaking of upsets, the G-Men are 6.5-point underdogs to quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Co., according to the Action Network.
Rams @ Cardinals — Cardinals
In two games, the Arizona Cardinals proved to San Francisco they can be quite the feisty opponent, and one has to think head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad is happy it doesn’t have to face off against rookie quarterback Kyler Murray again this season.
So, as a result, the Niners can happily root for Arizona from this point onward, especially in its home contest against another NFC West rival, the Los Angeles Rams.
At 6-5, the Rams are on the outside of the playoff picture, looking in. But they’re still the No. 7 seed and could make it into the postseason with a hot finish and some help elsewhere.
The Cardinals could put a proverbial dagger into Los Angeles’ playoff hopes with a home win here.
Vikings @ Seahawks — Vikings
Out of all the games this weekend, perhaps none carry as much NFL playoffs implications as the Seahawks hosting the Minnesota Vikings.
Minnesota desperately wants to swap places with the Packers in the NFC North, while the Seahawks will hope the 49ers lose to Baltimore, setting up the stage for an NFC West switch if Seattle wins in Week 13.
Interestingly enough, both of the Seahawks losses this season have come at CenturyLink Field, and Niners fans should be hoping the Vikings help out San Francisco in this contest. While Minnesota is a team the 49ers may have to deal with in the postseason, winning the NFC West is far more crucial for Shanahan and Co. right now than worrying about potential playoff seeding.
The Action Network currently has the Seahawks as three-point favorites over the Vikings on Monday Night Football.
Meanwhile, the 49ers and Ravens kick off on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. ET from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.