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Playoff photo: where the 49ers stand heading into week 16


Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Week 15 of the 2021 NFL season is on the books, and the NFC playoff image continues to move. The Dallas Cowboys jumped into the No. 2 seed, thanks to a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with only the Green Bay Packers leading the conference ahead of them.

The San Francisco 49ers are two games behind the No. 5 seed Los Angeles Rams with three games to go. However, the Bay Area team continue to sit comfortably in sixth place after handling affairs over the weekend against the Atlanta Falcons.

Below is a breakdown of the current NFC playoff image, with the top four teams listed being the current division chiefs.

  1. Green Bay Packers, 11-3
  2. Dallas Cowboys, 10-4
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 10-4
  4. Arizona Cardinals, 10-4
  5. Los Angeles Rams, 10-4
  6. San Francisco 49ers, 8-6
  7. Minnesota Vikings, 7-7

Below are the top four teams racing to make their way through the playoff photo.

  • Philadelphia Eagles, 7-7
  • New Orleans Saints, 7-7
  • Washington Football Team, 6-8
  • Atlanta Falcons, 6-8

If the season ended today, the 49ers would travel to Raymond James Stadium to face Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. At least one NFC West team would be guaranteed to be ousted in the Wild Cards round, with the current playoff image setting up the Arizona Cardinals to welcome the Rams.

“I’ve noticed that in the last couple of weeks I’ve actually started to pay a lot more attention to scores,” 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk said this week. “Even in the stadium, when they said Arizona lost (Sunday), I was happy with that one, although it wasn’t too much of a difference for us. But just seeing the Cardinals losing was a good thing. “

The Niners travel to Nashville, Tennessee this week to face the Titans on Thursday night. They will then host the Houston Texans at Levi’s Stadium before closing the regular season against the Rams at SoFi Stadium.

There’s even a scenario where the 49ers still win NFC West. However, that will force the Cardinals to lose their remaining games and the Rams to give up at least two of their last three, including what could be a crucial Week 18 clash against the 49ers.

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