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The Shanaplan: Why winning the division is critical for the 49ers

You don’t want to run out of gas with multiple road games and extra traveling

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Every 49ers season, outside of 2019, feels like it involves a few weeks of “the sky is falling” and another handful of weeks where “we are the best of the best.”

This year’s team is unique. The 2022 unit might be the most talented squad under Kyle Shanahan. And yes, that includes 2019. Of course, it’s easy to argue against that, as the Niners have lost more times through ten weeks than the ‘19 version did throughout the regular season.

The 49ers are in the middle of a two-game winning streak, which comes fresh off a two-game losing streak. The team will look to continue their winning streak Monday night against the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City.

The pathway to a long playoff run starts with winning your division. Why? Because you get a home game during Wildcard weekend. So these divisional games like the Cardinals mean a little more.

During today’s episode of The Shanaplan, Akash and Rob discussed how important it is for the Niners to win the division. Here’s Akash:

Going back to last season, an underrated part of why they lost in Los Angeles wasn’t because Trent Williams was banged up or Jimmy Garoppolo was banged up and had a bad game. It’s cause they had played four straight road games.

They had to win in Week 18 in Los Angeles. Then they come home and go to Dallas, then they come home and go to Green Bay, then they come home and go to Los Angeles, and eventually all that travel on the road, that stuff just starts to take a toll.

So if the 49ers can get a home playoff game as the two or three seed, I think that just makes a bigger difference. You never know. If you’re the two seed maybe you get another home playoff game. That’s why I care. Also, I just think the NFC West isn’t that good this year. I know Seattle and Geno Smith is a good story, but if you’re Kyle Shanahan with this team, you’ve got to win this division, man.

Seattle is a cool story, but they are not better, on paper, talent-wise, than you are. You’re 3-0, and the division, you’ve beat them head to head already. I just think you’ve got to take care of business. Win the NFC West, and if they don’t end up as the two seed or one seed, whatever, but you’ve got to win your division.”

Luck would be what worries me about Seattle. I thought they would have fizzled out by now, but that hasn’t happened. Plus, the 49ers play them at home. The Seahawks still have to play the Rams, Chiefs, Jets, and Rams again. And while Los Angeles is banged up, you never know what will happen in division games.

San Francisco has to handle their business. If they do, they’ll be primed for a playoff run.