The 2020 NFL regular season has turned into a Season From Hell for the San Francisco 49ers. Several starters are out of the lineup with injuries, and it doesn’t look like help will be on the way anytime soon. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and tight end George Kittle became the walking wounded’s latest members as the Niners head towards another playoff-less season.
San Francisco remains in fourth place in the NFC West at 4-4. Without virtually all of their best players, the 49ers are in line to finish last in the division for the third time in the previous five seasons.
The silver-lining of finishing last is that the Niners will get play the bottom teams from the NFC East and NFC South next season. If things hold in those divisions, that means the 49ers will take on the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons as part of their 2021 schedule.
Here is how the other NFC West teams are doing heading into Week 9:
Seattle Seahawks (6-1) beat the 49ers 37-27
The Seahawks put a beatdown on the Niners last week. Seattle’s much-maligned defense dominated San Francisco through the first three quarters, holding the 49ers’ offense to just 7 points. Russell Wilson continued his MVP campaign with an impressive performance against the Niners, going 27-of-37 for 261 yards and four touchdowns. Receiver DK Metcalf is one of the best pass-catchers in the NFL; he flexed his dominance with 12 receptions for 161 yards and two scores. If the defense can play at a similar level as it did against San Francisco, Seattle should find itself with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Arizona Cardinals (5-2) BYE
The Cardinals got some extra cushioning without even stepping on the field. With the 49ers and Rams losing, Arizona sits second in the division. Football Outsiders gives the Cardinals a 71.7% chance to make the playoffs for the first time since making the NFC Championship game in 2015. Arizona’s offense is ranked No. 1 in yards per game and sits in second in rushing yards per game. Like the Seahawks, the Cardinals’ defense will be their Achilles Heal going into the second half of the season.
Head coach Sean McVay’s Boy Wonder mystique is starting to wear off. Despite out-gaining the Dolphins by 326 yards, the Rams’ offense looked awful in the loss. Quarterback Jared Goff had four turnovers in the first half alone, and Los Angeles never recovered. McVay’s refusal to make adjustments cost the team dearly. The Dolphins routinely ran zero blitzes against the Rams empty-set and swamped Goff, who threw for 355 yards on 61 attempts. L.A.’s defense continued its strong play, holding rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa to just 93 yards in his debut. The Rams took advantage of an early soft schedule, but it’s becoming evident that this team will only go as far as its defense takes them.
Next three weeks: Bye, vs. Seahawks, @ Buccaneers
Do you think the Rams will make the playoffs?