So that happened.
Many of you may have shut things off in the third quarter of the San Francisco 49ers’ stinker against the Baltimore Ravens. We don’t blame you. The good news is the 49ers control their destiny in the NFC for that coveted No. 1 seed. The bad news is the 49ers have to win their next two games after getting banged up in that game against the Baltimore Ravens.
While the 49ers own the NFC West, that bye week can be invaluable. Let’s take a look at how the rest of the division did.
Los Angeles Rams (8-7)
The Los Angeles Rams hosted the New Orleans Saints in about what you’d expect for a Thursday Night Football game between these two. The Rams took the lead late into the first quarter and never looked back.
This has been quite the hole they’ve dug themselves out of. The Rams need to continue winning, and they can be in the postseason. A lot of this is dependent on that regular season finale against the 49ers, and since the 49ers decided to drop an ugly one to the Baltimore Ravens, everything will be on the table.
As the conference stands, the 49ers need to win the next two games, which includes the Rams. The 49ers want a week off, the Rams want to get in. The season finale could prove to be a huge one for both teams and possibly a flex to prime time.
Seattle Seahawks (8-7)
The Seahawks managed to win against Tennessee and keep their playoff hopes alive. Much like their game against the Philadelphia Eagles, they didn’t do much until the fourth quarter and took the lead in the final minutes of the game. The win keeps them in the playoff race.
More importantly, with the Minnesota Vikings losing, the Seahawks now have the No. 7 seed. That’s right. The NFC West again has a shot at having three of its 4 teams in the playoffs.
And hopefully, it’s just so they can get bulldozed by the Niners again.
Arizona Cardinals (3-12)
Blink during the Cardinals game at the start, and it’s 21-0 with six minutes left in the half. From there, the Cardinals attempted to make a game of things, but you knew who was winning.
The loss drops the Cardinals to 3-12. As it’s already been declared, the Cardinals have no hope for anything in 2023, that said, they haven’t outlived their usefulness. They have the Philadelphia Eagles on New Year's Eve, and a loss would certainly be nice for 49ers fans.
Cardinals, don’t let us down.
Into Week 17
A lot of things can be determined this week. The Seahawks will be hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers. While this is in Seattle, this might be the last team to have a legitimate shot of knocking the Seahawks out of the playoffs. The Steelers get quarterback Kenny Pickett back, which will be a nice shot in the arm. The week after this, the Seahawks get the Cardinals.
The Rams will be heading across the country to face the New York Giants. If there ever was an upset alert, this could be the game given the 10:00 AM start time and cross-country travel. As I said above, no one wants to play the Rams, so the 49ers and the league at large could be asking a huge favor from the Giants to put a stop to all of this.
The Cardinals will travel to face the Philadelphia Eagles. Another battle of the birds with a 10:00 AM start. On paper, the Eagles should make quick work of the Cardinals. The Cardinals have played every team they've run into hard and the Eagles have been getting out of a funk, so there might be an opportunity for an upset.
The 49ers Travel to face the Washington Commanders. On another 10:00 AM start time. Luckily, the Commanders have their own issues with quarterback. Sam Howell got benched and Jacoby Brissett is no slouch, so the 49ers defense might have its hands full. Regardless of the outcome on Monday, this was/is a must-win game.
1st [Clinched]: San Francisco 49ers; Next: at Washington Commanders
2nd: Los Angeles Rams; Next: Next: at NY Giants
3rd: Seattle Seahawks; Next: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
4th [Eliminated from Postseason]: Arizona Cardinals; Next: at Philadelphia Eagles