49ers' Playoff Hopes Hinge on Week 6 Matchup With Eagles

Andy BenschSenior Writer IOctober 11, 2008

Before the start of the 2008 NFL Regular season, 49er fans looked at their schedule and deemed games @ New Orleans, home to Patriots, home to Eagles and @ the defending Super-Bowl Champion New York Giants as the "murderers row" part of the schedule.

Through two games of this daunting portion of the schedule, the 49ers are 0-2.  And the two games they lost were against the two teams they had the best chance to beat of the four "murderers row" teams they have to face.

The Saints were without Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey, the Patriots were without MVP Tom Brady, but yet the 49ers could not find a way to win either game, putting their playoff hopes in dire need of win this Sunday against the Eagles. 

The final half of these four games includes Sunday @ home, and next week @ the Meadowlands.  Now after watching the New York Football Giants get off to a scorching 4-0 start, the 49ers have almost no chance of beating that team.  Therefore, there is an enormous amount of pressure on them to beat Philadelphia on Sunday.  The Eagles will be without McNabb's #1 weapon, running-back Brian Westbrook who is out with a broken rib and a bum ankle.  The Eagles will also be thin at wide-receiver because of injuries to Reggie Brown, who will miss this week's game, and Kevin Curtis who is listed as questionable.

If the 49ers can't win a single game against three teams that all had significant injuries on offense, how can they expect to make the playoffs?  It makes you wonder how much worse they would have lost to the Saints and Patriots if those teams had been 100% healthy.

The 49ers need to face the facts, this is a must-win game.  Lose Sunday, and they will inevitably be 2-5 after they lose next week against the Giants.  The odds of them making the playoffs after a 2-5 start are slim at best.  This division will be one with a 9-7 record.  The 49ers will then have to go at least 7-2 in their last 9 games.  The 49ers have only won 7 games in an entire season, ONCE, in the Mike Nolan era.  

Whether this 49er team realizes it or not, their season hangs in the balance this week.  In five of the final nine games, the 49ers will face Dallas, Washington, Buffallo, New York and Miami.  If they lose Sunday, in order to make the playoffs they will have to win-out against the division and go 3-2 against those 5 teams just mentioned.  This 49ers team is just not that good, at least, not yet.

-Andy Bensch

Bellarmine College Prep 09'