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NFC West roundup: Rams falter, Seahawks take division lead

Los Angeles could still be in the driver’s seat to claim the division crown if it beats Seattle next week.

Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

For the fourth time in six seasons, the San Francisco 49ers will finish in the NFC West’s basement. The 5-9 Niners have dealt with an unprecedented amount of injuries that wound up killing any hopes of a return to the Super Bowl.

The NFC West was viewed as the best division in the NFL coming into the 2020 season. It looks like three teams from the division will qualify for the postseason, with the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals all in playoff positions going into the final two weeks.

San Francisco wraps up its schedule with back-to-back divisional games and will still have a say in who ends up walking away with the NFC West crown.

Here is how the rest of the teams from the division did in Week 15.

Seattle Seahawks (10-4) beat the Washington Football Team 20-15

It was a tough outing for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense, who went up against a stacked Washington defensive line. Wilson had one of his worst games of the season, going 18-of-27 for 121 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The offense finished with a season-low 302 total yards, but Seattle’s defense did enough to escape the Nation’s Capital with an all-important win.

The Seahawk’s defense has immensely improved over the previous six games, improving from dead-last in total yards allowed per game to 26th overall in the league. Seattle re-claimed the top spot in the division with the win, setting up a massive Week 16 showdown against the Rams that will go a long way in deciding who takes the division.

Final two games: vs. Rams, @ 49ers

Los Angeles Rams (9-5) lost 23-20 to the New York Jets

The Rams continued their Jekyll and Hyde ways with an ugly loss to the previously winless Jets. Quarterback Jared Goff and L.A.’s offense came out sluggish, running a total of just 10 plays over their first three possessions, one of which resulted in a blocked punt.

New York took advantage of the Rams’ early struggled to jump out to a 17-0 lead and hung on from there. L.A. had a chance to tie the game on its final possessions, but Goff’s fourth-and-4 pass to Gerald Everett went incomplete, giving the Jets the win.

Although Goff only threw for 209 yards, the vaunted Rams’ defense deserves some blame as well. The unit only managed two sacks against a putrid New York offensive line and had issues throughout the first half, which led to the early deficit.

It all comes down to Week 16 for L.A. If the Rams beat the Seahawks, they will control their destiny going into the final game of the regular season. If they lose, they will face Arizona in the final week with plenty on the line in terms of playoff positioning.

Final two games: @ Seahawks, vs. Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals (8-6) beat the Philadelphia Eagles 33-26

Kyler Murray has rebounded with solid back-to-back efforts to put the Cardinals in the pole position to claim the final NFC playoff spot. The second-yard quarterback went 27-of-36 for 406 yards, three touchdowns and a pick. He also used his feet to wreak havoc against the Eagles, finishing with 29 rushing yards and a score. Arizona is going to go as far as Murray and receiver DeAndre Hopkins take them.

Hopkins caught nine passes for 169 yards and a touchdown. The All-Pro receiver recorded his seventh 100-yard outing of the season, and the Cardinals are 6-1 in those games. Arizona’s defense came up big against Philadelphia as well.

The Eagles were set up with a first-and-10 from the Cardinals’ 11-yard line with just over three minutes left. But, Dennis Gardeck and Leki Fotu recorded back-to-back sacks to push Philadelphia back to the 22.

The unit then held up on the final drive, forcing Eagles’ QB Jalen Hurts to throw two incompletions in the end zone on the game’s last two plays.

Arizona could still climb up to the No. 5 seed in the NFC, but it will need some help over the last two weeks.

Final two games: vs. 49ers, @ Rams

Where do you think the Seahawks, Rams and Cardinals will finish in the NFC standings?