The NFC West wrapped up its action Sunday afternoon with the Arizona Cardinals beating the St. Louis Rams and the Seattle Seahawks losing to the Washington Redskins. I was a bit surprised by the Seahawks results given their recent strong play at home, but given their inconsistencies this season, I suppose I should not be so surprised.
Whatever the case, the 49ers head into Week 13 with a chance to clinch the NFC West. There are two very basic OR scenarios to clinch the division:
1. 49ers Win: As things currently stand, if the 49ers lost their remaining games and Seattle and/or Arizona won their remaining games, they would all finish tied for first. If that happened, we would go to the head-to-head tiebreaker, followed by divisional record, best record in common games, then best record in conference games and several more tiebreakers. The 49ers can eliminate all that nonsense by simply beating the St. Louis Rams.
2. Seahawks Lose AND Cardinals Lose: The Cardinals week 12 victory coupled with the 49ers week 12 defeat kept the door open just a crack for Arizona. They are now tied with the Seattle Seahawks at 4-7, while the 49ers sit at 9-2. If the Seahawks and Cardinals both lose this week, the 49ers clinch the division. The Seahawks host the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday Night Football, while the Cardinals host the Dallas Cowboys at the exact same time the 49ers host St. Louis.
It's fairly simple this week. The 49ers cannot clinch any sort of bye, but they can take the first significant step forward by clinching the NFC West and securing the franchise's first playoff berth since 2002. I do believe I would be quite pleased with it. The team just needs to go out and handle their business and everything else will fall into place.