Instant Debate  

 

Who has a better shot at the playoffs?

  • By NFL.com
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Let the debate begin ...

Daryl Johnston: Between the Chargers and the 49ers, the team that has the best opportunity to get into the playoffs is probably the 49ers, as NFC West Champions.

Looking at the remaining schedule, which is why Thursday's matchup against the Chargers is so big, the road is managable for the 49ers. They have two division games remaining, including the huge game against the Rams next week.

I like the Chargers, they've always played well at the end of the season. Plus it's a QB-driven league, especially at this time of year. The Chargers have Philip Rivers at the controls, while the 49ers have had uncertainty at the position all season with Alex Smith and Troy Smith. This is the time that quarterbacks rise to the occassion.

All that being said, there's a good possibility neither of these teams makes it. Even if the Chargers run the table to get to 10-6, they might fall short. And only the division winner will come out of the NFC West.

 

Brian Billick: I just called a 49ers game, and to think that they're capable of making a run at the playoffs at 5-8 is hard to imagine. But you have to keep in mind that Seattle and St. Louis just aren't great football teams right now. It's just the fact of life in the NFC West.

Obviously, the Chargers are chasing a better team in the Chiefs. The fact that the Chargers are 7-6, there is some margin there because they're only one game back of the Chiefs in the AFC West. You have to figure San Diego has the better odds.

But I'll tell you what: When you look at who Seattle and St. Louis still have left on their schedules, if San Francisco can get by against the Chargers Thursday night, I think they'll win the NFC West.

But I think the Chargers will win at home on a short week, which tends to heavily favor the home team. The 49ers are a good team, though, and they're in the right division.

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