The San Francisco 49ers travel to face the Seattle Seahawks this weekend, looking to win their second straight game, and snap a four-game losing streak overall and up in Seattle. The 49ers have also failed to cover in the last nine games against Seattle. It has not been pretty.
The most notable fact about this game might be that it marks Blaine Gabbert's second straight start for the 49ers. He took over the starting role against the Atlanta Falcons, and was solid. He made the necessary plays, managed the offense well, and limited his mistakes. Not the most exciting performance, but he helped get the job done.
Now, the 49ers head into Seattle with a 3-6 record. They remain alive in the playoff race, thanks in part to some awful football across the league. However, they also find themselves in the hunt for a fairly high draft pick. The 49ers currently hold the seventh pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. They are a game and a half back of the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans for the top spot, and a game back of four teams for spots three through six.
I am not a proponent of tanking, but I also am at a point in this season where losses do not bother me all that much. It is disappointing to see the 49ers not play well, but I can easily sell myself on the value of a high draft pick.
However, this week potentially offers the best of both worlds. If the 49ers lose to the Seahawks, an upset or two could move them a couple spots up the draft board. On the other hand, if the 49ers beat the Seahawks? Well, that means a team led by Blaine Gabbert at quarterback and Shaun Draughn at running back will have beaten the Seattle Seahawks.
No offense is intended for Gabbert, Draughn or any of the 49ers, but there is a reason the 49ers are a double digit underdog. Even though Seattle is not a good team, the 49ers are worse. While a win would hurt the prospects of a top five draft pick, it would also create further embarrassment for the Seahawks. I have to admit, that's kind of an appealing thought.
Will this actually happen? I doubt it. Crazy things happen, but odds are not in favor of this happening. But either way, I think it is win-win for 49ers fans. Lose and improve draft position, or win and embarrass a major rival. I can live with that.