These teams threaten 49ers playoff chances the most in 2nd half

DuJuan Harris #32 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
DuJuan Harris #32 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

In seizing control of the NFC West with their Week 11 win, the 49ers stand an excellent shot at making the NFL playoffs, but there are still some threats.

A number of important things happened for the San Francisco 49ers following their lopsided Monday Night Football drubbing of the Arizona Cardinals in Week 11 from Mexico City.

For starters, the Niners got yet another win within the NFC West, which improves them to a perfect 4-0 within the division. That’s important, and it also gave head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad sole possession of first place over the Seattle Seahawks, thanks to that division record, which means San Francisco now occupies the No. 3 seed in the conference’s playoff picture.

According to Football Outsiders, the 49ers now have an 88.7-percent chance of making it into the postseason, odds that increased over 11 percent with the victory on Monday night, and they also have a solid 63.1-percent chance of winning the NFC West, too.

Still, as those same Cardinals could attest in each of the last two years, things can easily fall apart down the stretch.

Shanahan and Co. want to avoid this, yes. But it’s still vital to identify the Niners’ biggest threats in the way of getting back into the playoffs, and here are the teams that could wind up being San Francisco’s most formidable postseason obstacles.

49ers NFL playoff threat No. 1: Washington Commanders

It’s weird to think that the NFC East is arguably the NFL’s most competitive division right now after years of being absolutely terrible.

But that’s the case with the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles aiming for a first-round bye, while both the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants are vying for Wild Card berths. The Washington Commanders, too, and it’s weird to see them out of the current playoff picture despite a 6-5 record.

That’s the case, though.

As hard as it’d be to see all four NFC East teams make the postseason dance, Washington is going to be the most desperate of the divisional bunch, and the fact it plays the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in Week 16 could carry massive implications.

49ers NFL playoff threat No. 2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There are a lot of reasons to watch the Niners host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 14, few of which will overtake the chatter of quarterback Tom Brady returning home to Northern California in front of family and friends to face his boyhood team.

At 5-5, though, the Bucs are nevertheless a division leader and would have a home playoff game in the Wild Card round as the No. 4 seed.

The NFC South is quite interesting, though, as nobody is running away with the division (as Tampa Bay’s record indicates), and the 5-6 Atlanta Falcons and 4-7 New Orleans Saints are still technically in play for a divisional crown, too.

San Francisco already lost to Atlanta and will face the Saints in Week 12, but the Buccaneers figure to be the biggest challenger for both a division title and a top-four seed in the NFC playoff picture, though.

49ers NFL playoff threat No. 1: Seattle Seahawks

For those thinking the 49ers have a friendly schedule over the next three weeks because of home games, the Hawks actually have it easier after coming off a Week 11 bye:

  • Week 12 vs. Las Vegas Raiders
  • Week 13 @ Los Angeles Rams
  • Week 14 vs. Carolina Panthers

Three teams well below the .500 threshold and out of the playoff picture. That’s Seattle’s docket before hosting the Niners on Thursday Night Football in Week 15, a game that could easily decide who takes home the NFC West crown this season.

Read More: Seahawks won’t relinquish NFC West lead easily or soon

San Francisco does hold a better division record than the Seahawks, and the 49ers also have that Week 2 victory over the Hawks in hand, too.

Yet a season split could easily cost the Niners the division title, and it could ultimately pummel Shanahan’s squad down into the Wild Card group of teams.

And potentially out of the playoff picture altogether.

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