Why 49ers' game vs. Falcons is most important one of 2021 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
This is not a playoff game for the 49ers, but . . .
It is kind of a playoff game for the 49ers.
The 49ers currently hold the No. 6 spot in the NFC playoff picture. Seven teams, including three wild-card entries, advance to the postseason in both the NFC and AFC.
At 7-6, the 49ers’ situation is tenuous with four games remaining.
There are five teams lined up behind the 49ers with 6-7 records: Washington, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Atlanta and New Orleans. The 49ers own head-to-head tiebreaker advantages over Minnesota and Philadelphia.
The most important game on their schedule is Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons at Levi’s Stadium.
The 49ers currently have a 74 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight.
But the outcome of their Week 15 game will dramatically shift their odds one way or the other.
If the 49ers defeat the Falcons (6-7), their chances of making the playoffs increases to 88 percent, according to the site.
But if the Falcons should win, the 49ers would see their hopes tumble to a 31 percent chance.
(And in the unlikely event of a tie, the 49ers would benefit, too. Coach Kyle Shanahan’s team would own a 76 percent chance of advancing to the postseason if there is no winner after regulation and a 10-minute overtime.)
With a victory over the Falcons, the 49ers would have a 77-percent chance of making the playoffs even if they lose two of their final three games of the season to finish with a 9-8 record, according to FiveThirtyEight.