Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports


Why Cynthia Frelund predicts 49ers to make playoffs

Nov 26, 2021 at 2:47 PM--


The San Francisco 49ers are coming off back to back victories and are now in a position to fight for a playoff spot. After the New Orleans Saints fell to the Buffalo Bills last night, the 49ers slid themselves into the No. 7 seed. Ahead of a pivotal matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, playoffs has been creeping back into the minds of 49ers fans.

NFL Media analytics expert Cynthia Frelund listed the 49ers as one of two bubble teams to make the playoffs in her latest column for NFL.com

The other team that Frelund favors to make the playoffs is the Indianapolis Colts, who like the 49ers appear the be getting hot at the right time.

Frelund recognizes that the game against the Vikings is huge, however an easier road lies ahead for the 49ers later in the season.

"Sunday's home game against the Vikings could be a crucial pivot point that dramatically shifts the 49ers' playoff odds, which sat at 33 percent entering this week -- eighth-highest in the NFC, just behind the Vikings. My simulations have San Francisco besting Minnesota 53 percent of the time. Now, the Niners do have two remaining games with win forecasts north of 60 percent: vs. Atlanta in Week 15 and vs. Houston in Week 17."

The 49ers offense has got into a rhythm gym of late, scoring 30 or more points in four straight games. The 49ers have relied heavily on the running game this season but Jimmy Garoppolo has made the most of his limited pass attempts.

"San Francisco's offense is based around rushing efficiencies. According to Next Gen Stats, the 49ers run the fifth-highest proportion of plays with runs or play-action passes at 61.8 percent. In addition, Kyle Shanahan only passes on 69 percent of third downs, which ranks 28th. That said, NGS shows that Jimmy Garoppolo has the second-best passer rating on throws of 10-plus air yards (129.0)."

The past two games the 49ers have dominated the line of scrimmage and have ran for over 150 yards in both contests. Garoppolo has also been very efficient over the past two matchups, throwing four touchdowns to zero interceptions.

In those two games the 49ers have nearly doubled the opponents time of possession.

The 49ers will look to set the tone for the rest of the season when they matchup against the Vikings Sunday, in what should be a playoff game atmosphere.



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