Predicting 49ers final 5 games to make a playoff run
The 49ers enter the stretch run of the 2022 season in first place in the NFC West. But can they make a playoff push with Brock Purdy at quarterback?
The San Francisco 49ers find themselves in a place that most teams don’t often see heading into the final section of the season: simultaneously in first place in their division, yet hinging their hopes on a rookie seventh-round draft pick, the team’s third starting quarterback of the campaign.
Sitting at 8-4 and what amounts to a game-and-a-half lead over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West, the Niners will play three of their final five games at Levi’s Stadium, including their third contest in a row this coming Sunday against quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 49ers don’t even have to leave the Pacific Time Zone, as their two road games have the team jetting it to Seattle next Thursday and then to Las Vegas to face off against the Raiders in the season’s penultimate week.
Things seem to be set up pretty well, then, save for the tiny detail of the starting quarterback. And while rookie signal-caller Brock Purdy was effective in relief of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo in Sunday’s 33-17 victory of the Miami Dolphins, there is a sense of “he was a seventh-round pick for a reason” floating around.
The Niners’ defense is certainly set up for success heading into the final five games, having allowed just seven points in the second halves of their last five contests and not giving up more than 17 total points in that same stretch.
On the season, the vaunted group has yet to allow 200 total points.
This leads to the inevitable question: Can the 49ers do enough to secure a place in the division or even sneak into the playoffs as a Wild Card as they did in 2021?
Let’s take a look at the matchups over these last five weeks and predict how the Niners will finish the 2022 regular-season campaign.