49ers battling Giants for NFC playoff bye


49ers battling Giants for NFC playoff bye

The 49ers own a five-game lead in the NFC West with eight games to play. So it has been obvious for a while that the 49ers are going to break an eight-season drought and return to the playoffs.The New York Giants might be going there, too. The Giants have a two-game lead in the NFC East over the Dallas Cowboys.
It's only the mid-point of the season, but there will be a lot at stake when the 49ers face the Giants on Sunday at Candlestick Park."Our season does not depend on a win or a loss against these guys," 49ers safety Donte Whitner said. "But we really want to go out and win this football game."RELATED: LIVE NOW -- 49ers safety Donte Whitner on Pro Football Talk
And for good reason. This game could have January implications.Currently, the 49ers stand as the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs behind the unbeaten Green Bay Packers. The Giants are No. 3. The top two seeds earn first-round byes in the playoffs, and then would play a conference semifinal in their home stadium.The 49ers could take a major step toward a playoff bye with a victory over the Giants. After all, it would give San Francisco a two-game lead over the Giants, while also giving the 49ers a tie-breaker edge over the Giants. The New Orleans Saints, who play at Atlanta on Sunday, would be no closer than two-games behind the 49ers, as well.
"There's great significance to this game," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "The biggest thing is it's the next game. That always makes it the most important game."Here is a look at the NFC playoff picture at the mid-point of the season:Division leaders
1. Green Bay (North) 8-0. (NFC record: 6-0)
2. 49ers (West) 7-1. (NFC record: 5-1)
3. N.Y. Giants (East) 6-2. (NFC record: 3-2)
4. New Orleans (South) 6-3. (NFC record: 3-3)Wild card
5. Detroit (North) 6-2. (NFC record: 4-2)
6. Chicago (North) 5-3. (NFC record: 5-3)Next in line
7. Atlanta (South) 5-3. (NFC record: 4-3)
8. Dallas (East) 4-4. (NFC record: 4-2)
9. Tampa Bay (South) 4-4. (NFC record: 3-4)
10. Philadelphia (East) 3-5. (NFC record: 3-4)
11. Washington (East) 3-5. (NFC record: 3-4)
12. Seattle (West) 2-6. (NFC record: 2-3)
13. Minnesota (North) 2-6. (NFC record: 2-4)
14. Arizona Cardinals (West) 2-6. (NFC record: 2-4)
15. Carolina (South) 2-6. (NFC record: 1-6)
16. St. Louis (West) 1-7. (NFC record: 1-6)Tie-breakers
Head-to-head, if applicable.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
Strength of victory.
Strength of schedule.

Report: Stubblefield taken into custody, booked into jail in no-bail case

Santa Clara Sheriff Office

Report: Stubblefield taken into custody, booked into jail in no-bail case

Former 49ers defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield is behind bars. 

According to the Mercury News, Stubblefield was led away from court to jail in handcuffs Friday after a judge found there was probable cause to hold him over for trial on charges of rape stemming from May 2016. 

Stubblefield is charged with raping an intellectually disabled woman on April 9, 2015 at his Morgan Hill home when she had gone to interview for a babysitting job. 

According to the same report, Stubblefield had been free on $250,000 bail for more than a year. But the judge ordered him taken into custody Friday after prosecutors formally added the allegation that Stubblefield used a gun during the assault, which made it a no-bail case.

Stubblefield has pleaded not guilty and publicly denied the five felony charges and gun enhancement that prosecutors say could lead to at least 15 years to life in prison if he is convicted.

Stubblefield played 11 seasons in the NFL, including the first five with the 49ers. He later returned to the 49ers in 2001 and ’02, before finishing his career with the Raiders.

Stubblefield, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 1993, was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording 10.5 sacks. He was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year with a career-high 15 sacks in 1997. He signed a lucrative contract with Washington in 1998.

Drafted by Baalke with injury, former 49ers WR signs with Colts


Drafted by Baalke with injury, former 49ers WR signs with Colts

The 49ers recently re-signed eight of the 10 players who finished the season on the team’s practice squad.

Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter, who was not among the first wave of 49ers signings to 2018 contracts, signed Wednesday with the Indianapolis Colts, ending his three-season association with the organization.

Smelter was one of general manager Trent Baalke’s redshirt draft picks. The team selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 draft despite a torn ACL that ended his final season at Georgia Tech.

Smelter spent his first season on an injured list. He was waived at the beginning of the past two seasons, finishing both years on the 49ers’ practice squad. Smelter appeared in two games in 2016 and caught one pass for 23 yards.

Last season, the 49ers signed wide receivers Louis Murphy and Max McCaffrey to spots on the 53-man roster instead of Smelter, who remained on the practice squad.

Wide receiver DeAndre Carter, who also spent the entire season on the practice squad, was signed recently to the team’s 90-man roster.

Others who finished the season on the 49ers practice squad to remain on the team’s offseason roster are: quarterback Nick Mullens, tight end Cole Wick, offensive linemen Andrew Lauderdale and Pace Murphy, linebacker Boseko Lokombo, and defensive backs Trovon Reed and Channing Stribling.

The 49ers also signed fullback Malcolm Johnson, who spent last season on injured reserve with the Seattle Seahawks. Johnson appeared in 19 games over the 2015 and ’16 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He was a sixth-round draft pick in ’15.

Offensive linemen Cameron Hunt, who finished the season on the 49ers’ practice squad, remains unsigned. Guard JP Flynn is also unsigned. He sustained a torn patellar tendon in November and underwent surgery that was expected to keep him out up to nine months.