The bottom of the NFC playoff picture isn’t any clearer after Week 13 action, and the 49ers certainly didn’t do anything to help them cement their postseason spot. A loss in Seattle pushed the 49ers to 6-6 and the No. 7 seed where they reside heading into a crucial Week 14 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.
A Vikings win on Thursday Night Football put San Francisco in an even more precarious position. They’re just a half game up on Minnesota and Philadelphia — both 6-7 teams that the 49ers hold a tiebreaker over. Behind Minnesota and Philly are three 5-7 teams.
The 49ers need to gain some separation with a win, but they could use some losses behind them as well.
Let’s look at which Week 14 games San Francisco should have an eye on:
This game will in theory help the 49ers either way it goes since one team will fall to eight losses and what appears to be the brink of elimination. For San Francisco though, an Atlanta win would be the preferred outcome since the 49ers play the Falcons next week with a chance to effectively push them from relevance in the playoff conversation with a win.
Prediction: It’s easier to see Carolina coming up with a couple stops in this one than it is to see Atlanta coming up with them.
The longer Seattle lingers, the scarier they are. Getting them back in the loss column would be a plus for a San Francisco team that loses the tiebreaker to them.
Prediction: The Seahawks are going to beat the brakes off the Texans.
Here’s an easy one. Not only are the Jets in the other conference, but they’re near the bottom of that conference. The 49ers are rooting hard for former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to swing an upset and get his first consecutive wins as a head coach.
Prediction: The Jets could conceivably pull the upset here, but New Orleans’ defense is good enough to win a game that’s sure to be pretty ugly.
It’s not easy for San Francisco fans to root for Dallas, but that’s what they need Sunday. A Washington loss and a 49ers win puts the latter back in the No. 6 seed. If the 49ers were in the NFC West race it’d be one thing to perhaps pull for a Dallas loss to help with seeding, but San Francisco’s not sniffing that echelon of team this year.
Prediction: Washington should be able to hang around against a Dallas club with a beat up offensive backfield. Still, the Cowboys receiving corps should torch a bad Washington secondary and help the road team get a victory.