It is December 15th and the Oakland Raiders are 6-7, the San Francisco 49er’s 5-8. During most seasons these two teams would be written off and fans would be focusing on player development and next year’s draft. 2010 presents an exception to the rule. Although it is a long shot for both of these teams to make it to the NFL playoffs the fact remains that there is still a chance.
The Raiders play at home against Denver, Indianapolis, and on the road against Kansas City. Earlier in the season the Raiders destroyed the Broncos 59-14 on the road. They should be able to pull this game out. However they must defeat the Colts and Chiefs and win out the remainder of the season to legitimately have a shot at the playoffs. The Raiders also cannot make the playoffs without some help from other teams. The Chargers need to lose at least one game, and the Chiefs need to lose two games. This would create a three way tie for first place with all three teams having a 9-7 record. However the Raiders would have swept the Chiefs and Chargers and own the tie-breaker and the rights to the first round of the playoffs. Now the Chargers have a very light schedule for the remainder of the season. They play at home against the 49ers tomorrow night and on the road against Cincinnati and Denver. They must lose at least one of these games for the Raiders to have a chance. The Chiefs play on the road against the Rams this weekend, and at home versus the Titans and Raiders. If the Chiefs lose either against the Rams or Titans the final game of the season would be against the Raiders resulting in the winner heading to the playoffs. Now remember Raiders fans, the Raiders MUST win out the final three games, losing is not an option from this point forward!
The NFC West has been the laughingstock of the NFL the entire season but the truth remains that one of these teams is going to receive a playoff berth. The Rams and Seahawks stay tied atop the division at 6-7 while the 49er’s trail a game at 5-8. The scenario for the Niners to make the playoffs is very interesting considering the schedule for the three teams.
SEA – ATL, @ TB, STL
STL – @ KC, SF, @ SEA
SF – @ SD, @ STL, AZ
For the Niners to make the playoffs Seattle must lose two games. This seems easy enough considering the Seahawks play the powerhouse Falcons and surprisingly challenging Bucs. They finish off the season with the Rams at home. If Seattle loses two games their record would tumble to 7-9. The Niners need to either win out or win two out of three to have a chance and they MUST beat the Rams. Let’s say they beat STL and AZ and finish at 7-9. If the Rams can win two games then they will finish 8-8 and the division will be theirs. If they lose against the Niners and one additional game and the Niners can pound out two wins they would be tied at 7-9. The Niners would own the tie breaker because they would have beaten the Rams twice. It is a long shot for the Niners to make the playoffs and they must win at least two games. At the same time they need a large amount of help from division rivals. It doesn’t seem likely to happen but still going into this week the playoff hopes remain alive.
Now Bay Area football fans remember, the Niners and Raiders must win this week or the dream is over. Plain and simple tomorrow night the Niners need to pull off a miracle against the Chargers and the Raiders need to win the next three weeks. No predictions no assumptions, these are the scenarios, tomorrow night and Sunday produce the results that will determine these teams playoff hopes.
Only information used to write this article Standings from http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/standings