49ers must rock playoff odds over final 3 games of 2021

Running back Shaun Draughn #24 of the San Francisco 49ers gets tackled by free safety Andre Hal #29 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Running back Shaun Draughn #24 of the San Francisco 49ers gets tackled by free safety Andre Hal #29 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The 49ers playoff odds actually went down after their Week 15 win, but the chances to get in the dance are still awfully high with three games left.

Yes, it’s true. The San Francisco 49ers actually watched their playoff odds move around a lot in Week 15, ultimately climbing up to 88 percent before dropping down to 80 percent.

This, despite the Niners pulling off a convincing home win over the Atlanta Falcons to improve to 8-6 on the season and gain a tighter grip on the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoff picture.

So, how does that all work?

Well, San Francisco can thank the New Orleans Saints for shutting out quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football for that. And as NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco cited from FiveThirtyEight, the 49ers’ climb to an 88-percent chance fell once the Saints won and temporarily pulled into the No. 7 seed at 7-7:

That probably wasn’t in your upset-prediction machine. Thank you for nothing, Mr. Brady.

The Niners hold head-to-head tiebreakers now over the Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings, the latter team beating the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football to improve to 7-7 and subsequently bump New Orleans back into the No. 8 seed.

Still, it’s the Saints and Washington Football Team, the latter playing on Tuesday night, San Francisco has to worry about, as there aren’t any head-to-head wins to count upon, and there’s also a lot of other tiebreakers fully up for grabs.

If the 49ers lose out over their final three games, and both Washington and New Orleans win out, the Niners would be out of the postseason. Even two San Francisco losses, paired with two wins by both the Football Team and Saints, could create some nail-biting tiebreaker scenarios involving yet-to-be determined conference records.

49ers still have excellent odds for making playoffs

Playoff odds are always a funny thing, and like most metrics, they’ll vary from site to site.

Case in point, the 49ers’ odds of making the postseason this year dipped over at Football Outsiders following the Saints’ win, too, but only down 2.7 points to a full 82.7 percent.

Pretty good still.

Atlanta was one of those two “easily winnable” games left for the Niners over their final four contests, the other being a Week 17 home game against the three-win Houston Texans. If San Francisco finishes 9-8, the Saints and potentially Washington, too (depending on Tuesday night), might bump the 49ers out of the postseason depending on each team’s conference record as noted before.

Read More: What Niners can learn from Titans loss to Steelers

Yet if the 49ers wind up winning at least one of the other remaining games, Week 16 at the Tennessee Titans or Week 18 versus the Los Angeles Rams, it would force both the Saints and Football Team to win out.

A much better scenario, and it’s one that would be aided greatly with a Niners victory on Thursday night over the Titans.

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