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NFC West roundup: The 49ers are three games out of first place heading into Week 12

A Rams win on Monday night did not help San Francisco’s chances at winning the division

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The 2020 season theme seems to be all of the breaks the San Francisco 49ers need don’t go their way. When the team does need something to go in their favor, it doesn’t. Monday night football’s result is a prime example.

The Rams and Seahawks sit atop the NFC West. Both teams are undefeated at home. The Cardinals are in third place at 6-4, while the Niners are last at 4-6. San Francisco is 1-4 at home this season.

We can continue to play the “what-if” game and reference the dozens of injuries this team has suffered, but some of the losses and play have been inexcusable this season for the 49ers, even when they were healthy. Week 1 is a great example of that. This season feels like “so close, yet so far away.”

San Francisco needs help if they’re going to make a playoff run. Let’s take a look at how Week 11 went in the NFC West.

Seahawks (7-3) defeat Cardinals (6-4) 28-21

Seattle jumped out to a nine-point lead at the half, then Arizona stormed back, but they never took the lead. The Seahawks were in control for most of the game as Russell Wilson was more dialed back and efficient as opposed to the Wilson we’ve seen during November, who was throwing the ball all over the place.

Arizona couldn’t run the ball, and that put them into some challenging passing situations. Kenyan Drake had 11 carries for 29 yards. Compare that to the Seahawks rushing for 165 yards on 31 attempts. The game was sloppy as there were 18 combined penalties. The difference was Arizona failing on fourth down.

The Wilson MVP talk has cooled off. This happens every season. Russ plays great; then he has three weeks to a month where he’s OK and goes on a tear again. Seattle has too many flaws as a team to play with that “spread it out” mentality. I imagine the Seattle we saw Thursday night would be the team we see for the rest of the season. I’m not sold on either of these teams making noise in the playoffs.

Cardinals next three games: @ Patriots, Rams, @ Giants

Seahawks next three games: @ Eagles, Giants, Jets

Rams (7-3) beat Buccaneers 27-24

The Rams beat Tampa Bay, but Los Angeles tried their hardest to lose that game, but Tom Brady wouldn’t allow it. Jared Goff’s box score looks great, Brady finished with a negative EPA per play, completion percentage over expectation, and a QBR that was in the 30s. Brady’s deep passes were horrendous, and he was fortunate only to throw two interceptions. One thing was clear: It was past Brady’s bedtime.

Watching the Rams offense, it looks familiar. Everything is a layup for the quarterback, yet the quarterback cannot execute. The box score looks great. Goff completed nearly 80% of his passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns. When you see what McVay asked of Goff and how many receivers were running open, it makes Goff’s performance less impressive.

As a team and how the Rams coaching staff has done this season, I believe this is the NFC West’s best team. Tampa Bay went out of their way to take the run away, which they did. Los Angeles ran the ball 20 times for 37 yards. By loading up to stop the run, McVay dinked and dunked his way down the field with Coope Kupp and Robert Woods.

The Rams hit Brady four times, sacked him once, and probably could’ve had a few interceptions. If anything, the Rams should have won by double-digits.

Rams next three games: 49ers, @ Cardinals, Patriots

NFC West Standings

Rams 7-3

Seahawks 7-3

Cardinals 6-4

49ers 4-6

The Rams have the best team. The Seahawks have the easiest schedule. The Cardinals are the ultimate wild-card. The 49ers’ season rests on the result of Sunday’s game against the Rams.