As of right now, as much as it may upset San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary, the Niners are not winners, but they may have players who wanna win.
The Niners are sitting at 4-7, and if you were to tell me at any other point in the season that a 4-7 team is just one game out f the division lead I would have slapped you in the face.
Heck, maybe Roger Goodell should change the rules in the middle of the season for the second time this season and make it so a division winner must be at least .500 to make the playoffs.
However, until that happens, San Francisco has every chance of making the playoffs, even if they end up with a losing record.
The NFC West is historically bad this season, and right now the Niners look like the best team in that division at this point in the season.
San Fran has won three of their last four games, which includes wins over division rivals St. Louis and Arizona, while St. Louis has lost two of three and Seattle has lost four of five.
So let's take a look at what it will take for the Niners to take over the division and get to the playoffs.
Normally, if you're 4-7 in December, nothing less than winning out would be necessary for even a shot at a wild card spot to get into the playoffs.
Well, thanks to the NFC West, they have nothing to worry about, as winning three more games could be all necessary to win the division.
San Francisco has the easiest five final games of the season between the three teams that look capable of even winning another game this season.
St. Louis has a difficult task of traveling to New Orleans in two weeks, and the likelihood of a west coast team beating an east team on their third straight road game is quite low, and then they play the tough Kansas City Chiefs.
After what could be back to back losses for the Rams, they have to play San Fran, and St. Louis could be ripe for the picking at that point.
Seattle has it even tougher, as they go up against Atlanta and Tampa Bay in back to back weeks, with the latter being another of those daunting east coast trips.
San Fran plays each team in their division once more, two of which are at home, to go along with games against Green Bay and Seattle.
San Francisco has been hurt quite a bit by injuries this season, with key components going down in Alex Smith, Joe Nedney, and now Frank Gore, who was a huge part of their offense.
Well, first of all, and probably one of the more surprising stories of this NFL season, Troy Smith is filling in quite nicely for Alex Smith.
The former Heisman Trophy winner has won three of the four games that he has quarterbacked this season, compared to the one win combined by Alex Smith and David Carr.
Hell, Alex Smith even lost to the Carolina Panthers, a game which gave Carolina their first win of the season.
Troy Smith has two games with a QB rating of over 100, and has made very few mistakes this season, with an interception late against Tampa Bay being the main exception.
As for Joe Nedney, they have Shane Andrus to make up for his absence who has gotten rid of his first-game jitters on Monday, making two of four field goals, plus Andrus has a huge leg and has 55 yard+ range.
Frank Gore is the biggest question mark, but Brian Westbrook has done quite a bit to assuage the fears.
Westbrook may be old, but he showed that he can still be a good back on Monday night, and four of their final five games are against teams who are in the bottom half of the league in run defense.
Westbrook is as sure-handed as you can get, and there is almost no way that a game is ruined due to a fumble by Westbrook, as he only has three in his career.
They could do a lot worse as a backup for Gore.
In their win over Denver, the Niners had no turnovers and they forced two turnovers out of the Broncos.
From those two turnovers, they scored on a Frank Gore touchdown and brought the game to an end and staved off a Denver comeback with a final drive interception of Kyle Orton.
They continued their safe and smart play against St. Louis as they had no turnovers in the game, unfortunately, neither did the Rams.
They then went into Arizona and scored a touchdown off a Derek Anderson fumble and scored a field goal stemming from a pick of Anderson.
If they can keep up their smart play, and keep the football safe then they have every shot of winning the division.
San Francisco has a good defense despite the record that they are currently sporting, and their defense is what can get them into the playoffs.
If they get down big in games then they have very little chance of getting back into the game, so they must stay in games.
Their offense has bee hit too hard to be able to get back into games at will, so they must take good care of the ball and move the ball as good as they can to keep winning games.
If they can lean on their defense, perhaps force a few turnovers while not turning the ball over themselves then they have a great chance of winning the games that they need to win.
If they can go on to beat Seattle, St. Louis and Arizona to finish off the season, then their chances of making the playoffs are very good.
There is a great chance that both the Seahawks and Rams will lose their remaining non-conference games (with the exception of Seattle against Carolina) and the Niners may face the same situation.
If this is to happen, and San Fran wins out in the division, then they are in the playoffs.
If they win a non-conference game and their final three division game, then there's about a 92 percent chance that they make the playoffs.
Like I said in the previous slide, these NFC West teams have little chance of winning their remaining non-conference games.
So if the world goes like it looks like it should go (which almost never happens) the rest of the season would look like this.
St. Louis: @Arizona (Win), @New Orleans (loss), vs. Kansas City (loss), Vs. San Francisco (Loss), @Seattle (Win) would put them at 7-9.
Seattle: Vs. Carolina (Win), @San Francisco (Loss), Vs. Atlanta (Loss), @Tampa Bay (Loss), Vs. St. Louis (Loss) would put them at 6-10.
San Francisco: @Green Bay (Loss), Vs. Seattle (Win), @San Diego (Loss), @St. Louis (Win), Vs. Arizona (Win) would put them at 7-9.
If the season rolls out the way it seems it should roll out, then St. Louis and San Francisco would end up tied, with San Francisco owning the head-to-head tiebreaker over St. Louis.