The 49ers have nowhere else to hide. They simply must beat the Texans in Week 17 to have a good shot at playoff football.
A tough loss to the Tennessee Titans has put the San Francisco 49ers in a tough position entering the final two games of the 2021 regular season. Destiny is still technically in their hands, but the sheer inconsistency of the team and especially quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has fans a bit nervous.
A few factors have made the situation a bit clearer, however. The New Orleans Saints’ loss to the Miami Dolphins to close out Week 16 has handed control back to the Niners over their own destiny.
Also, Garoppolo is almost assuredly out, due to injury once again, and rookie Trey Lance will need to take over the reins and lead the team to at least one year.
The season finale is against the Los Angeles Rams. While San Francisco has enjoyed recent successes against the Rams, even in situations where everyone expected a loss, it’s still a very tough game to win.
That leaves the Houston Texans, a team that has had two wins in recent back-to-back weeks but is still a vastly inferior team to Los Angeles.
The equation is simply to win. A win against Houston means, not only do playoffs become much more likely, but there’s a chance the 49ers could qualify for playoffs directly this weekend if the Carolina Panthers beat the New Orleans Saints.
The Panthers are in absolute freefall right now, but the Saints didn’t look much better against Miami with Ian Book at quarterback. So there’s a chance.
But there are still some worries for the Niners leading into this game, which we’d better take a look at.