For those who find it repulsive to actively root for the 49ers to lose games for draft positioning, even if they’re hard-fought and close, solace can be taken in a most successful bye week. Coming into this week, the 49ers were squarely behind the one-win Oakland Raiders, in a murky tie with the two-win New York Giants, and half a game ahead of the two-win (against us) Arizona Cardinals due to their early bye week. Well, the 49ers profited quite a bit this week, without even having taken the field.
The Raiders pulled off a victory against the Cardinals, and the Giants pulled off a big win against the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The immediate ramifications of these results is that the 49ers now have sole control of the #1 pick, assuming they lose out - which may be an iffy proposition if the Los Angeles Rams have already secured home-field advantage by the week 17 contest. Beyond that, however, the Giants join 4 other teams in the 3-win club, taking a major step back from #1 overall pick contention. The Raiders and Cardinals join the 49ers with 2-8 records, but the first tiebreaker, strength of schedule, favors the 49ers.
The team will travel to Tampa Bay next week for their first Sunday game in a month. The three-win Buccaneers are a team that can move the ball extremely well - they entered week 11 as the #1 offense in terms of yardage per game with 452.8, and only increased that average after hanging 510 offensive yards on the Giants. Unfortunately for them, they’ve turned the ball over a league leading 29 times (including 4 interceptions on Sunday), which has severely limited their rate of capitalizing (ranked #12 in points/game leading into week 11) on their ability to move the ball. They’ve benched their starting QB several times this year after general ineffectiveness and frequent turnovers, and the carousel will be spun again this week, likely resulting in Jameis Winston getting his job back. Again.
Reviewing the rookies so far | Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area
Reviewing the second year players | Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area
Former 49ers QB Alex Smith suffers broken leg | Witt, NBC Sports Bay Area