The 49ers won their second straight game Sunday putting their season record at 5-5 and right back in the thick of things for an NFC Wild Card spot.
The offense opened the game with a 13-minute drive that ended in a field goal, but that drive ultimately set the tone for the rest of the game.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played a mistake-free game, and the defense continued to force turnovers despite its early season struggles to do so.
The Niners appear to be peaking at the right time as a crucial matchup with the Minnesota Vikings this week will have massive playoff implications.
Where do 49ers stand in NFL playoff picture?
After the victory on Sunday, San Francisco (5-5) is tied with the Vikings and New Orleans Saints with the same record for the final Wild Card spots. The standings are very close right now with several teams in the hunt, and in order for the 49ers to separate themselves, they will need to string together consecutive wins.
Beating the Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams the past two weeks has kept the Niners afloat, but those victories are only the beginning if they want to achieve their playoff aspirations.
49ers vs. Vikings in Week 12 will be massive
San Francisco will host the Vikings on Nov. 28 in a game that will have a playoff-like atmosphere. It will be a must-win game for both teams that are both coming off back-to-back victories. The 49ers and Vikings are two of the hottest teams in the NFC, and this matchup will start to clear up the standings in the NFC playoff picture.
The last time these two teams squared off, of course, was in the divisional round of the 2019 playoffs when the Niners won by a score of 27-10.
The Vikings are entering the game having won two straight against the Los Angeles Chargers and Green Bay Packers, who both appear to be playoff contenders midway through the season. Minnesota has had an up-and-down start to the season but has been very competitive in every game. Case in point, the Vikings have lost by seven or less in all of their losses this season, and have played two overtime games as well.
This team will give San Francisco all it can handle this week, but historically, the 49ers haven’t had much of an issue handling the Vikings, winning two of the last three matchups by 17 points.
49ers not-so-long road ahead
When looking at the remaining opponents on the Niners’ schedule, they have a combined record of 35-36, but there are some matchups the team should win handily. Luckily, San Francisco still has matchups against three teams that are at the bottom of their respective divisions, the Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, and Houston Texans.
But there are certainly some tough games ahead as well, with matchups against the Rams, Tennessee Titans, and Cincinnati Bengals on the horizon. There are only two divisional games left on the schedule, so the 49ers will have to find success against teams they aren’t accustomed to facing.
The Niners truly hold their own destiny, and as long as they continue to win games, they won’t have to continue peeking at the standings. There isn’t one game that stands out as a clear loss for this team, although the Titans are still atop the AFC even if they are coming off a shocking loss to the Texans.
If this season has shown us anything, it’s that any team can win any given week, and the 49ers need to take the win over the Vikings for their playoff run to begin.