49ers can run table, go 7-0 to finish 2021 NFL season, Donte Whitner believes

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Whitner believes 49ers can run table, go 7-0 to finish season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 49ers appear to have righted the ship after a convincing 30-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday.

San Francisco (5-5) now has won two games in a row, getting back to the .500 mark with seven games remaining on their 2021 schedule. 

The win over the Jaguars moves the 49ers into eighth place in the NFC playoff picture, though the Minnesota Vikings (No. 6 seed) and New Orleans Saints (No. 7 seed), who both are 5-5, have the Strength of Victory tiebreakers over the 49ers.

The good news for the 49ers is that they take on the Vikings next week at Levi's Stadium in a game that should go a long way to determining their path to the playoffs.

After facing the Vikings, the 49ers have road games against the Seattle Seahawks and Cincinnati Bengals, a home game against the Atlanta Falcons, a road game in Nashville against the Tennessee Titans, a home game against the Houston Texans, and finish the regular season in Los Angeles against the Rams.

Per Tankathon.com, the 49ers' remaining Strength of Schedule is .493, which isn't bad considering the Cleveland Browns have the toughest remaining schedule (.647) and the Philadelphia Eagles have the easiest (.404).

So how will the 49ers do over the final seven games of the regular season? NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Donte Whitner told 49ers Postgame host Laura Britt and analyst Joe Staley that he believes Kyle Shanahan's team can go undefeated the rest of the way if they stick to what has worked the last two weeks.

Whitner: "What I'm seeing is, I'm thinking 7-0 ..."

Britt: "Wow."

Whitner: "... the way that they are playing right now."

Staley: "Is anybody barbeque chicken on here?"

Whitner: "Barbeque chicken is the Texans. The Falcons are almost barbeque chicken. The Bengals are getting better. I think the pork is Seattle right now. They have a lot of injuries. They're not playing well. But they've always had the 49ers' number, no matter what's going on with their team."

Britt: "Especially in Seattle."

Whitner: "Especially in Seattle, and understanding the tendencies of the 49ers, they'll be geared up on Sunday Night Football. But it's all about the mindset of the players and the coaches. Are you going to stick to your formula? Running the football, being consistently physical, not getting out of who you are on defense, allowing the front four to kick up and get to work. So what I'm seeing is, it starts this week with Minnesota, but I'm thinking they could run the table and go 7-0 with this schedule."

The 49ers have shown shades the last two weeks of the 2019 team that went to the Super Bowl, but going 7-0 with that schedule seems like a tall task. At the moment, the Titans are the No. 1 seed in the AFC, though they did lose to the Texans, while the Vikings upset the Green Bay Packers in Minnesota on Sunday.

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Even if the 49ers run the table as Whitner believes they can, it's unlikely they will be able to chase down the Arizona Cardinals for the NFC West title and one of the top four seeds in the conference. But if they can go 7-0, that would mean they beat the Rams in the season finale, likely giving them a good shot at the No. 5 seed (top Wild Card spot) in the expanded playoff format.

The 49ers had dreams of winning the NFC West when the season began, but barring a miracle, that's likely out of the question now. Getting into the playoffs and securing one of the top Wild Card spots seems to be the goal, and if they make good on Whitner's belief in them, that very well could be the case by early January.

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