The 49ers did what they had to do on Sunday as they beat up a lowly Jaguars team. That’s what good teams are supposed to do. Here’s a look at the rest of the NFC West and where they stand heading into Week 12.
Arizona Cardinals (9-2) - Bye week
The Cardinals couldn’t have asked for a better three-week stretch with Kyler Murray out. They beat two divisional opponents in the 49ers and Seahawks while resting DeAndre Hopkins, too. As a result, Arizona is in the driver's seat to win the NFC West. They’re an impressive 6-0 on the road after taking down a lifeless Seahawks team.
I’ve been critical of Kliff Kingsbury, but he’s coached circles around Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan, and Pete Carroll in three different matchups this season.
Arizona has a chance to reach 12 wins as they still have Chicago, Detroit, and Seattle on the schedule. That feels like the magic number to get the No. 1 seed.
Los Angeles Rams (7-3) - @ Green Bay
The Rams are 1-2 in the NFC West. They travel to Lambeau Field off their bye week and two embarrassing back-to-back primetime losses. You’d think Odell Beckham Jr. will be acclimated into the offense, and Matthew Stafford is healthier with a week off.
This game is a coin flip, and while the Packers have home-field advantage, Aaron Rodgers isn’t 100% with a “very, very painful” toe injury. Plus, Aaron Jones is out.
The Rams are currently fifth in the NFC playoff picture, but a loss to the Packers and a 49er win over the Vikings would mean San Francisco is one game back from Los Angeles and holds the head-to-head tiebreaker. But, of course, both teams still have another matchup against each other. The season's final game could determine who has to play Tom Brady at home in a playoff game.
San Francisco 49ers (5-5) - vs. Minnesota
A couple of weeks ago, I predicted the 49ers and Vikings would both make the playoffs. Two weeks later, and both are .500 teams facing off against each other. This game isn’t for “all of the marbles,” but it’s close. The loser would have to go 5-1 or 4-2 with help to make the playoffs.
While both teams are capable of doing so, you give yourself breathing room with a victory Sunday. Neither team faces a murders row schedule after this weekend. Still, you can begin to look at higher seedings with a win, especially if the Rams lose.
I want to get out in front of something ahead of Sunday’s game. I thought last week proved, for both teams, that they are legit. Whether the Vikings or 49ers go down Sunday, that doesn’t mean either team is “overrated.” This is a game between two playoff teams.
Seattle Seahawks (3-7) - @ Washington
The end of an era is happening right before our eyes. The Seahawks look like a team without a plan or identity on offense. Russell Wilson is playing tentative and missing open wide receivers. They cannot operate without Chris Carson. Seattle’s defense looks old and slow.
Remember that ESPN simulation before the season that had the Seahawks starting 0-8 to begin the year? So close. I think Seattle blows it up after this year. Wilson goes to the Saints, Bobby Wagner calls it quits, and the Seahawks are in the basement of the division for the next few years.