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NFC West recap: 49ers separating themselves from Seahawks, Rams

49ers can wrap this thing up in a few more weeks

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

Thanks for nothing, Buffalo. That Jake Moody miss against the Browns is starting to sting even more now. The NFC West is starting to begin its end, but NFC Playoff seeding is alive and well. Well, kind of.

Last week we discussed how the San Francisco 49ers would need to win out in order to obtain that precious No. 1 seed. That’s assuming the Buffalo Bills could take care of business against the Philadelphia Eagles. They didn’t.

At this point, should the 49ers beat the Eagles, it would be dependent on the Dallas Cowboys handing them a loss AND the 49ers winning out. The 49ers have Baltimore coming to town shortly, so that’s a tall ask.

At this point, the 49ers are most likely positioned for the No. 2 seed and won’t be getting a week off. As far as the NFC West is concerned, they have started widening the gap from the rest of the cast. The Seattle Seahawks got crushed on Thanksgiving, going to 6-5 while the 49ers go to 8-3. That’s a 2.5 game lead.

It just will take a few more wins to end this thing with the way the West is playing. The 49ers could lock this up by beating Seattle in two weeks and then the Arizona Cardinals. It may not make them the champs, but should be enough barring a total meltdown.

Meanwhile, we can root for the Seahawks and the Cowboys to maybe run away with a win or two over Philadelphia.

Seattle Seahawks (6-5)

The 49ers finally got their revenge. Nine years after we learned eating turkey on a team’s seal is disrespectful, the 49ers returned the favor in kind with bludgeoning the Seahawks. That’s not to say it was smooth sailing for three quarters. When Brock Purdy threw that pick six, I’m sure many fans facepalmed and said, “here we go again.”

It’s simply the weirdness that has plagued 49ers-Hawks games. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the game got close, but I was surprised to see Brock Purdy fire off a flare to Brandon Aiyuk to seal the game.

The win puts the 49ers firmly in the driver’s seat for the West and also gives them the tiebreaker over the Seahawks for now. They aren’t done yet, they have Seattle once more in two weeks and then the Arizona Cardinals the week after that. If the 49ers can win both of those games, it’s pretty much over as far as the division is concerned.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks have shown they will have questions as the regular season draws to a close in a few weeks. Geno Smith isn’t the answer and at this point, you have to maybe wonder if a package of players + picks might be necessary to move up in the draft to get a quarterback you want. The 49ers aren’t just a step above them, that gap is still wide, perhaps wider than last year. The Hawks have draft ammo so we’ll see what happens.

Los Angeles Rams (5-6)/Arizona Cardinals (2-10)

The Cardinals/Rams game gave you the impression it might be competitive. The Rams struck first with a touchdown, but then the Cardinals later came back and got a touchdown and a two-point conversion to take the lead. Sadly, this was the last time they’d have the lead as around 10 game-minutes later, the Rams scored another touchdown and didn’t look back. The Cardinals didn’t score until 5 minutes remained in the game and the Rams were up by 29 points. The game ended 37-14.

The Rams are better than their record indicates and could close the season just below .500. They end the season with the Washington Commanders, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, and 49ers. The 49ers game is the last game of the season and if they have seeding/divisions locked up, they could rest the starters and let the Rams get a win to close the season, not unlike 2017 in Kyle Shanahan’s first season as head coach.

As for the Cardinals? Well, they are circling the drain. You can pray for them to beat the Eagles in a few weeks, but logic says that won’t happen. What should concern you is their game against the 49ers on December 17. Kyler Murray has a way of making defenses get a headache with his scrambling ability, and they will be looking for some inspirational wins to close out the season. An interesting question for them will be how much progress Murray makes in this new offense if it’s worth to give him another season.

Into Week 13

The Seattle Seahawks will be facing off on Thursday night football against the Dallas Cowboys. A Cowboys win helps the NFC West. On the other hand, if the Seahawks can beat the Cowboys, it might piss them off so they take frustrations out on the Philadelphia Eagles (which helps the 49ers in playoff seeding).

The Rams will be hosting the Cleveland Browns. The Browns came out strong early in the season, but lost quarterback Deshaun Watson for the season and remembered they were the Browns. They right now have the sixth seed in the AFC, so they’ll be trying to hold on for dear life to get into the postseason.

The Cardinals will be traveling to face the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers have had some strange things happening during games but have managed to pull out wins. On paper, the Cardinals should get beat, but the Steelers are favored by only 5.5 points. Which seems low.

And you know where the 49ers are heading.

1st: San Francisco 49ers; Next: at Philadelphia Eagles

2nd: Seattle Seahawks; Next: at Dallas Cowboys

3rd: Los Angeles Rams; Next: vs Cleveland Browns

4th: Arizona Cardinals; Next: at Pittsburgh Steelers