After two weeks, all is well in the NFC West as the 49ers are tied for first in the division. Only the Niners have a positive point differential:
San Francisco +11
Los Angeles -17
Let’s run through each team's standings and the next three opponents.
49ers 1-1: @ Broncos, vs. Rams, @ Panthers
We’ll get Jimmy Garoppolo under the lights during the next two games before San Francisco heads east to take on an uninspiring Carolina squad.
There was a realistic chance the 49ers started the season 4-2 with Trey Lance under center. If you believe the media and agree Jimmy is an upgrade, that shouldn’t change with the veteran quarterback.
Denver looks like a disaster. The Rams can’t stop anybody, and the Panthers have Baker Mayfield. The Niners will be favored in each game. The defense should have their way with each opposing offensive line, and that’ll take pressure off Garoppolo and the offense to score 24+ points.
Jumping out to a 4-1 start feels greedy, but it’s plausible, given the schedule and how each team plays.
Rams 1-1: @ Cardinals, @ 49ers, vs. Cowboys
It has to be a Shanahan coaching tree thing because the Rams were up 21-3 at halftime and then were outscored 24-10 in the second half. They played the Falcons, who missed a field goal, turned the ball over, and threw an interception on three of their first four drives.
Something is up with Matthew Stafford. He threw another interception Sunday. If Los Angeles played any team other than the Falcons, they might be staring at an 0-2 start. Instead, one of the Rams’ second-half touchdowns came on a blocked punt. Their Super Bowl hangover is real.
I wouldn’t count the Cowboys as an automatic victory with how they match up against the Rams. And you never know what can happen in the division. Sean McVay starting 2-3 isn’t far-fetched.
Seahawks 1-1: vs. Falcons, @ Lions, @ Saints
Insert Dennis Green, “we are who we thought they were” clip. Seattle’s lone victory was more about Denver than the Seahawks. Unless you have unsustainable turnover luck, it’s difficult to win in this league if you can’t rush the passer or block, no matter how good your wideouts are.
Seattle should be Atlanta, but they’re not winning on the road against a Lions offense that looks legit for a Saints defense that will put Geno Smith in a headlock.
Cardinals 1-1: vs. Rams, @ Panthers, vs. Eagles
Oh, Kliff. Kyler Murray did everything in his power to save Arizona from starting 0-2. If Josh McDaniels knew what he was doing, the Cardinals would be winless. Arizona didn’t score a point in the second half. It took hero ball from Kyler and three fourth-down conversions to beat the Raiders.
I don’t think the Cardinals stand a chance against Philly. They’ll beat Carolina and likely drop a game this week against the Rams.
The division is there for the taking for the 49ers. As was the case with Trey, Jimmy won’t need to carry the offense for this team to win. It’s simple: don’t have the boneheaded penalties and mental mistakes, and let your playmakers do what they do best.
Would this season be a disappointment if this team didn’t win the division? I believe so.