It was a rough Week 9 outing for the San Francisco 49ers, who were blown out 34-17 by the Green Bay Packers. The Niners were missing all of their starting skill-position players but should get some reinforcements back when they take on the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
The silver-lining for the 49ers is that the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals also lost. Barring a huge turnaround, winning the division seems to be out of the question for San Francisco. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said that he still thinks the team can get into the postseason after losing to Green Bay. The 49ers are sitting at 4-5, and Football Outsiders gives them a 9.9% chance of getting one of the seven playoff berths.
Here is a look at how the rest of the NFC West teams are heading into Week 10.
Quarterback Russell Wilson was brought back down to earth by the Bills’ defense. Wilson had four turnovers in the loss as Buffalo’s defense swarmed him, finishing the game with 5 sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Seattle’s offensive line looked a lot worse than it did the previous week against San Francisco. Despite Wilson’s struggles, the Seahawks’ defense continues to be their Achilles Heel. The unit allowed Josh Allen to throw for a ridiculous 415 yards with Jamal Adams back in the lineup. The defense that dominated San Francisco a week earlier looked like one of the worst in the NFL. The unit is ranked last in the NFL, giving up 455.8 yards per game and third-worst in points against at 30.8. Seattle’s +31 point differential is the second-worst out of the NFC playoff teams. Despite the rough outing, Wilson has been the best QB in the league this season, but the Seahawks can’t rely on him bailing the team out, especially against higher-end competition.
Arizona Cardinals (5-3) lost 34-31 to the Miami Dolphins
Although they played terribly, the 49ers loss to the Dolphins doesn’t look as bad considering Miami is 5-3 and beaten three NFC West teams. Kyler Murray has been as good as advertised this season. It wasn’t his fault that Arizona came up short against Miami. The second-year pro filled up the stat sheet, going 21-of-26 for 283 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 106 yards and a score. Murray amazingly ranks eighth in rushing yards, despite having roughly half the carries than the running backs ahead of him. He’s the main reason why the Cardinals have the best offense in the league at 422 yards per game. Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury made some head-scratching decisions late in the game, including taking the ball out of Murray’s hands on a fourth-and-1 inside Dolphins’ territory. Zane Gonzalez missed a 49-yard attempt with less than two minutes ago that could have sealed the Cardinals win, but that set Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami offense up for the winning drive.
Next three games: vs. Bills, @ Seahawks, @ Patriots
Los Angeles Rams (5-3) had their BYE week
It was a lovely Week 9 for the Rams. All three of their division rivals lost, meaning L.A. sits just a game out of first place. The Rams seem to be pretenders at this point. They have only beaten one team with a winning record this season — the Chicago Bears — who could end up below .500 due to their anemic offense. Led by Aaron Donald, L.A.’s defense is its strength. The unit ranks second in yards against per game and points allowed per game, but the offense’s lack of consistency has held the team back. QB Jared Goff continues his up-and-down play, and head coach Sean McVay has struggled to make in-game adjustments, which was evident in the Week 8 loss to Miami. We should know more about the Rams over the next month, where they will play three playoff teams and the Niners.
Next three games: vs. Seahawks, @ Buccaneers, vs. 49ers
What is your prediction for how the division will look at the end of the season?