With five games remaining, Niner Noise goes through the 49ers’ opponents over this last stretch and ranks them out, NFL power rankings style.
At 6-6 now, San Francisco merely dropped down a spot in the NFC playoff picture and still holds a key tiebreaker over the 5-7 Minnesota Vikings, who also lost in Week 13, with another game in hand over the 6-7 Philadelphia Eagles from the win back in Week 2, while the 49ers also play another out-of-the-seeding-but-still-in-contention team in the 5-7 Atlanta Falcons, which could be vital in ensuring the Niners stay in a Wild Card spot.
In all honesty, they could finish the season 9-8, and that’d probably net one of those Wild Card spots, and the top-heavy nature of the conference suggests even an 8-9 finish could put San Francisco in the playoffs, too.
It shouldn’t be too much of an ask for the 49ers to win two more games.
As inconsistent as the Niners have been this season, it’s a good thing there are some surely weaker opponents remaining on the schedule. But to determine who the weakest teams are, let’s list out the remaining five opponents in an NFL power rankings kind of format.
Starting off with the lowest of the low, the lowly Houston Texans.
49ers vs. Texans, Week 17
Even though the Texans have a better record than the also-lowly Detroit Lions, who finally managed to win their first game of the season in Week 13 over the Vikings, Houston still has the unfortunate accolade of being the first team of the year fully eliminated from postseason contention.
Not as if anything else was expected for first-year head coach David Culley and Co.
Sure, the Texans pulled off a surprise win over another one of San Francisco’s remaining opponents, the Tennessee Titans, three weeks ago. But getting shut out by the Indianapolis Colts in Week 13 is more of an indication of what kind of team Culley has at his disposal.
There’s a chance Culley makes the inevitable full-time switch at quarterback from the embattled-but-capable Tyrod Taylor to the mid-round rookie, Davis Mills, at some point soon. Yet that won’t change the fact Houston has virtually zero offensive talent, and the NFL’s worst-ranked offense in both points scored (164) and yards gained (3,054) poses essentially no threat to the 49ers whatsoever.
Sure, some may view this as a trap game. But it’s not. The Texans are wholly awful.