As the clocks turn back an hour, the days are starting to get shorter, and every passing week of football carries more importance. It’s the time of year to start looking at the schedule and see what games can either help or hurt the 49ers in their race for a playoff spot. The 49ers have their bye week sitting at 4-4, good for second place in the NFC West and the 7-seed in the NFC.
With no 49ers game, here are the three games fans should have some sort of rooting interest in for Week 9:
Seahawks at Cardinals - 1:05 pm, FOX
With the 49ers in second place, one game behind the 5-3 Seattle Seahawks, this game should easily be most intriguing on the 49ers' bye week. Geno Smith didn’t write back and has shown the Pete Carroll system puts its quarterback in the best place to succeed, leading a Seattle offense that has scored the fourth-most points in the league. They take on a 3-5 Arizona team that’s desperate to get on a roll, especially with DeAndre Hopkins returning with 22 receptions for 262 yards and a touchdown in his two games back from suspension.
The 49ers can be anywhere from tied for first to two full games out by the time they kickoff Sunday night, Week 10 (Seattle plays Tampa Bay in Munich at 6:30 am Week 10). A Cardinals win would be nice for the 49ers' quest for the NFC West crown.
Rams at Buccaneers - 1:25 pm, CBS
What could have been a Week 9 preview of the NFC Championship Game has been reduced to what could be a loser leaves town game. The 3-4 Rams head to Tampa Bay, where Tom Brady is in unfamiliar territory with a 3-5 record. The loser will stay at three wins, which would be, at best, the 10th seed in the NFC and, at worst, 14th if Green Bay, Arizona, New Orleans, and Chicago all win this week as well. It obviously wouldn’t eliminate the loser but would make the climb that much steeper more than half way through the season.
A Tampa Bay win would give the 49ers a bit more cushion in the NFC West, and the Rams' downfall would continue. Easy choice for 49ers fans.
Bills at Jets - 10:00 am, CBS
This game may come out of left field, as this game has no effect on the 49ers' playoff standing. But with it being the 49ers' bye week, it’s a good time to take our minds off of them and just enjoy football, and this game is close enough to 49ers-adjacent to watch and enjoy.
The 6-1 Bills head to the Meadowlands to take on the 5-3 Jets. It will serve as a good look at a potential Super Bowl team in the Bills against former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and his upstart Jets. A Jets win would give New York a tie in the win column with Buffalo with the Bills having a game in hand but the game being at the Meadowlands might be a disadvantage as the Jets are 1-3 at MetLife and the Bills sitting at 3-1 on the road.
There really isn’t a specific team to cheer for as 49ers fans so just hope it’s a good, close game. If you need a side to cheer for, it’s always nice to see the Kyle Shanahan coaching tree to succeed.