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Do the 49ers need to prove themselves with a win this week?

Like, what more do they have to do at this point?

Inside the 49ers bubble, life is good. The team has won four straight games, the defense looks incredible, and they’re atop the NFC West. Those outside the bubble, however, have pointed to a soft schedule and a middling offense as reasons to cast aspersions on the team’s 7-4 record. On today’s Bully Ball podcast, Jason Aponte asked Steph Sanchez if the team needed a win over Miami this week to prove those doubters wrong.

“I think absolutely you need one of those trademark wins. Realistically you’re not going to beat every team on your schedule, but you have to be able to prove - if you have hopes of being a playoff team - that you can beat a playoff team.

Because of the way the Chiefs game went, I think the 49ers do kind of need this game for validation. This game isn’t as big in the scheme of conference playoff contention because it is outside of the conference, but I think we find out a lot about these teams in this one, and how they might fare come playoff time.

It’s going to be a good measuring stick for both sides. But I do feel like the 49ers need this win for validation and to know that they can beat an unquestioned playoff team.”

So far, the 49ers have only played one team that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, and that was the Chiefs. Of course, we all know how that game went. In addition to the Dolphins on Sunday, the 49ers will also face the Buccaneers and the Commanders, who would join them in the playoffs if the season ended today.

On the season as a whole, the Niners have faced three teams currently over .500, the Chiefs, Chargers, and Seahawks. They’ve won two of those three games and overall have outscored the opposition 72-67. It should also be noted that three of their next four games come against teams over .500 in the Dolphins, Seahawks, and Commanders.

Jason made no apologies for the team’s record this season or their narrow victory over the Saints on Sunday.

“Wins are wins. This isn’t college. This isn’t the NCAA. You don’t get style points for putting 56 points up on Hawaii and moving up in the rankings. Wins are wins, you get them how you get them, and it does not matter.”

What do you think? Do the 49ers need to beat the Dolphins this week to legitimize themselves as a Super Bowl contender? Does the defense need a good game against Tua Tagovailoa and company because of what happened against Kansas City? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Other topics in today’s show

  • Every win doesn’t have to be pretty (1:16)
  • Jimmy G. is tough as hell (4:36)
  • The red zone struggles have returned for the 49ers (5:26)
  • Don’t take victory laps for your Jeff Wilson take (9:12)
  • This defense is even better than you think (14:56)
  • Reaction to Raheem Mostert talking trash (21:38)
  • Comparing the rosters of the Dolphins and the 49ers (28:28)
  • Is Jimmy G. that different than Tua Tagovailoa? (29:47)
  • How much does Kyle Shanahan want to win this game? (37:03)
  • Do the 49ers need to beat the Dolphins for validation? (38:12)