4 teams 49ers want to see lose to help with playoff push

Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

With four regular-season games left in 2021, the 49ers find themselves watching the scoreboard and hope these four teams fall apart down the stretch.

The San Francisco 49ers should have been fans of the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football in Week 14, and yet the 10-3 Cardinals did the Niners zero favors by falling to the visiting Los Angeles Rams 30-23 to close out the week.

Rooting for Arizona likely would have conceded the NFC West on San Francisco’s part. But at 7-6, now watching the No. 5-seeded 9-4 Rams climb to within a game of the division lead, it’s probably safe to assume the 49ers won’t be reclaiming the division crown this season anyway.

Seeded at No. 6 in the NFC playoff picture after their road win over the Cincinnati Bengals, however, a Wild Card spot isn’t just in play for the Niners.

It’s right there for the taking.

While proverbially “handling its own business” is of the utmost importance for San Francisco over the final four games of the regular season, there’s no doubting head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. will be doing some scoreboard watching.

Especially hoping these four teams cough it up to ensure the 49ers don’t miss out on a postseason berth.

49ers would be OK with Rams finishing 1-3

Rams remaining schedule: vs. Seahawks, @ Vikings, @ Ravens, vs. 49ers

Los Angeles now has a two-game lead over the Niners in the playoff standings and is still threatening a No. 1 berth and a first-round bye.

At the same time, though, San Francisco could feasibly catch its rivals by the time both teams play in Week 18, and Shanahan has won his last five outings versus Rams head coach Sean McVay anyway.

The 49ers could probably be happy enough to see LA beat the No. 8-seeded Minnesota Vikings, whom the Niners already beat this season, too, simply because that would help create a greater gap between them and Minnesota, both in terms of the win/loss record and conference record. But with San Francisco’s tiebreaker over the Vikings in place anyway, there’s probably just one team it would want to see the Rams beat over these final four games.

And that’s the one next on our list.