The NFC West has long-since been accepted a national embarrassment and a black mark on the human race. Game after game, season after season – it never ceases to stop lowering the bar for effort, talent or pride.
Fortunately for the San Francisco 49ers, playing in that horrid division is finally paying off. In an interesting piece by Mike Sando over at ESPN, he points out that theoretically, the team could lock up a playoff berth fairly quickly this year.
How quickly this happens, obviously, depends on whether or not the rest of the division continues to live up to its tradition of dreadfulness and the 49ers can keep winning. But, if all goes according to plan, San Francisco could probably carve out a playoff spot for itself by Week 11.Basically, here is how things shape up:
Currently, the 49ers are 6-1 and have nine games remaining in the year. The Seattle Seahawks are ranked second in the division with a 2-5 record. With nine games left in the season, the Seahawks can finish no better than 11-5 (they’d have to go undefeated over the next nine games). Even if Seattle were to accomplish this feat, though, San Francisco could lock up a berth with 12 victories – a mark they only need six more wins for.
That’s all best-case scenarios.
Realistically, with games against the Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and 49ers still on the agenda – there’s no way that the Seahawks go undefeated the rest of the way. Similarly, with games against the New York Giants, Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers remaining, plus the inevitable losses you didn’t see coming against less-than-stellar competition, it’s difficult to see the Niners going 6-3 the rest of the way.
It’s worth noting, however, that the 49ers going 6-3 over the next nine games is far more realistic than the Seahawks even breaking the .500 plateau.
So, what can we take away from all this? Well, most importantly that the NFC West continues to challenge the validity of the claim that the best athletes in America are playing professional football. (Offensive lineman too, for that matter). And, of course, that San Francisco will finally get something to smile about again when the postseason rolls around this winter.
In keeping with what a historical week this has been for the 49ers, don’t forget to check out all of the feats they accomplished during last Sunday’s victory versus the Cleveland Browns.