The San Francisco 49ers had an opportunity to clinch a postseason spot following Sunday's win over the Houston Texans, however, failed to get some much-needed help from a fellow NFC foe.
With a 49ers win and a New Orleans Saints loss, San Francisco would have stamped their ticket into the postseason. However, New Orleans defeated the Carolina Panthers, 18-10, forcing San Francisco to have to rely on its Week 18 outcome to ensure their way into the postseason.
It's a win-and-you're-in scenario for the 49ers who will hit the road to face the Los Angeles Rams in Week 18. As the 49ers are fighting to remain in the playoff picture, the 12-4 Rams enter the game with the NFC West title on the line with the 11-5 Arizona Cardinals.
San Francisco has won five-straight games against Los Angeles dating back to the 2019 season. The two teams met on "Monday Night Football" in Week 10, where the 49ers pulled off a 31-10 victory and forced two turnovers against Matthew Stafford.
Things get complicated for San Francisco if they can't take care of business next week. Despite having the same record, a Week 18 win from the Saints over the Atlanta Falcons would thrust New Orleans into the postseason given their stronger conference record. The best-case scenario for San Francisco would be to avoid a three-way tie with New Orleans and the Philadelphia Eagles, who are both currently one game behind the 49ers.
With New Orleans' win on Sunday, FiveThirtyEight.com currently forecasts San Francisco to have a 61 percent chance to make the postseason, a drop from their 75 percent probability a week prior.
Following the Minnesota Vikings loss to the Packers, Green Bay still leads the entire conference and would receive the first-round Bye. If the season were to end today, the 49ers would face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card round.
|1||Green Bay Packers||13-3|
|2||Los Angeles Rams||12-4|
|3||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||12-4|
|6||San Francisco 49ers||9-7|
|--||New Orleans Saints||8-8|