No. 2: Don’t Expect Help from Around the League
In an ideal world, the 49ers would have beaten the Ravens in Week 13, while both the Falcons and Vikings would have beaten the Saints and Seahawks, respectively, in their prime-time matchups.
None of the three best-case scenarios happened, though, which is a major reason why the Saints are No. 1 in the NFC seeding, the Seahawks are No. 2 and now atop the NFC West and the Niners are all the way down at No. 5 in the playoff picture.
The Saints have very winnable games against the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and Panthers to round out the regular season, while the Seahawks take on the Rams, Panthers and Arizona Cardinals before hosting San Francisco in Week 17.
The Niners would be wise to assume both the Saints and Seahawks win out their games against other opponents not named the 49ers down the stretch.
All this means is San Francisco has to embrace the idea of controlling its own destiny. A win over the Saints in Week 14 is of the utmost importance, obviously, and it could be the deciding factor in determining whether or not the Niners get back into the top-two seeds and a first-round playoff bye.
Then, of course, there’s the Week 17 bout in Seattle.