We are only four games into the 2015 NFL season, but the San Francisco 49ers find themselves in a serious hole. There are currently 11 teams with a 1-3 record, but not all 1-3 teams are made the same. The 49ers seemed to get their defensive house in order to some degree this past week, but now the offense is a train wreck. Maybe they figure something out, but plenty of us are skeptical they can get the ship turned in the right direction.
At this point, the 49ers are two games back of first in the NFC West. The division standings are currently as follows:
1. Arizona Cardinals: 3-1
2. St. Louis Rams: 2-2
2. Seattle Seahawks: 2-2
4. San Francisco 49ers: 1-3
The Rams sprung a big road upset of the Cardinals to climb to within a game of the division lead. They are 2-0 in the division with wins over the Cardinals and Seahawks. They lost on the road to Washington, and at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers. They quickly fell behind to Washington and could not get back into it. On the other hand, they had plenty of opportunities to beat the Steelers. The Rams stout defense kept them in it, but their offense could not get anything going.
And that is what it will come down to for the Rams. That is a very capable defense, but if the offense can't get going, they are going to fade in the playoff chase. Odds seem pretty decent they are a tough spoiler, but not much more than that. They travel to face the Green Bay Packers this weekend before a bye. They are a long-shot to win this game, but their defense will likely look at what the 49ers did to try and contain Aaron Rodgers and the potent Packers offense.
The Cardinals could have maintained their two-game lead in the division, but now head on a two-game road trip following a tough home loss. Arizona will head to Detroit and then Pittsburgh. They played three of their first four at home, and now enter a sizable set of road games around their Week 9 bye. Detroit is coming off a decent effort against Seattle, while Pittsburgh will likely still be without Ben Roethlisberger. I'd say it's a slightly beneficial road trip.
And of course, there's the Seahawks. They benefited in a huge way on Monday Night Football. Had the proper call been made, they are likely staring at 1-3 right now. Instead, they are 2-2, getting a big win without Marshawn Lynch. That offensive line is pretty bad, but they are working around it. They travel to face the Cincinnati Bengals and then host the Carolina Panthers. Oh, and then they come to Santa Clara on a short week to face the 49ers.
This division is not as dominant as it once was, but we are at least getting some interesting football from most of the team.