If the season ended today, only with the 49ers winning the NFC West, they’d face the New Orleans Saints at Candlestick Park in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. It would be a rematch of their Monday night matchup in week 2, which the Saints won 25-22.

Rest assured, the 49ers would lose by a lot more than 3 points if they have to face the Saints again.

If tonight was the first time you watched the San Francisco 49ers play in 2010, you’d probably come away with five thoughts about the team:

1. Mike Singletary really does wear sunglasses at night.

2. Alex Smith sucks, although he’s also playing behind an equally sucky o-line.

3. For some reason they’re afraid to use Brian Westbrook.

4. Ted Ginn is pretty good.

5. Considering all the penalties and the 49ers’ failed attempt to score on 4th-and-goal at the 1, they might have the most inept coaching staff in the NFL.

At no time Thursday night did it seem possible that the 49ers could win a game against a team that’s worth a damn. And that makes sense, because they haven’t done that all season (with all apologies to the Raiders, who might be worth half a damn). Don’t be fooled by close losses to teams like the Saints, Falcons and Eagles. None of those teams put out anywhere near maximum effort against the lowly Niners and their dullard coaching staff — especially the Saints, who probably expended more energy in their third preseason game than they did at The Stick.

If the 49ers win their last two games and sneak into the playoffs, the result will be another game like tonight’s. If you think the difference is noticeable between Singletary and his staff and the coaches on the other sideline now, imagine what it’s going to be like in the playoffs when the film-watcher faces a guy like Sean Payton, only Payton isn’t holding back. At this point Andy Reid and Tom Coughlin are Bill Walsh and Vince Lombardi by comparison.

There’s nothing else to say about this game. It was a nice effort by 49ers fans to keep the game from getting blacked out in San Diego, but there were plenty of die-hards around here who couldn’t bear to watch this game on TV after halftime … and only partly because the NFL Network traded last weekend’s annoying Fox music between plays for the vocal stylings of Joe Theismann and Matt Millen (who actually did sing a little bit near the end).

While there will always be fans who want their team to win each and every game they can, you can’t fault fans who, in the back of their minds, wish the 49ers would lose next week in St. Louis. Not to better their draft position, but to put the Niners, and everyone who follows it, out of their misery.