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NFC West recap: Rams win keeps 49ers from wrapping things up this week

Darn it, Rams

San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 42-19 on Sunday, a score I certainly didn’t see coming. In any case, the win has shaken up the very foundation of the NFC. Now everyone needs to keep pace, not just the 49ers. The Eagles are holding onto their sole win and are heading into some tough games the next few weeks. Games where teams are trying to fight for their own playoff future.

Given the hole the 49ers dug themselves, you can’t ask for a better scenario. The 49ers still would need to win out and hope for a Philly loss to get the No. 1 seed with no issues. Their schedule doesn’t look near as bad on the backend, but it’s divisional opponents and the Baltimore Ravens. Nothing here is a gimmie, but things look a lot better than they did before Sunday.

I won’t go into all the “what ifs” but basically, while the 49ers are sitting pretty, they have a couple other teams right on their heels.

Seattle Seahawks (6-6)

The Seattle Seahawks can be given the award for “Most Enjoyable Thursday Night Game” or just helping provide us with a Thursday Night game that isn’t a drag. They lost to the Dallas Cowboys which means the Dallas Cowboys have beaten a winning team.

Well, sort of. I guess.

The loss puts the Seahawks back to .500. It would have helped the 49ers because that means beating Seattle this week would wrap the NFC West up. Unfortunately, that isn’t happening due to another pesky divisional opponent which we’ll get to. Now, should the 49ers beat the Seahawks this weekend, it would eliminate the Seahawks from division contention, but it won’t give the 49ers the NFC West crown

Considering that, the Seahawks are going to come out to Santa Clara with their hair on fire. Their backs are against the wall and they are fighting not just for the division, but also a playoff spot. That Dallas loss has them on the outside looking in and the Rams have the same record as they do (but own the tiebreaker).

This could work to the 49ers’ benefit. If they can take care of business this week, they at least push the Seahawks out of the division, but the Seahawks will have their playoff hopes alive. If that’s the case, the game they have after San Francisco? Philadelphia, in Seattle.

Los Angeles Rams (6-6)

Perhaps we should be triggered by this Rams win. Why? Because if they lost, the 49ers could wrap up the division this weekend against Seattle.

Instead, the Rams played a Joe Flacco-led (hey, remember him?) Cleveland Browns squad. It wound up being a pretty fun game, all things considered. Then after a missed extra point, things winded down in the Rams’ favor.

Why is this loss so triggering? Because if the Rams lost, the 49ers could wrap the division up this weekend. Of course, the Rams won instead.

The Rams share the same record as the Seahawks, but own the tiebreaker. Right now they don’t have a wild card spot as the Green Bay Packers’ win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football changed that. If the Rams can finish the season beating teams with losing records, they’ll go to 9-3. That could be enough to secure a wild card spot, provided other teams aren’t limping in along the way.

The Rams are much better than their record indicates and I’d much rather not see them in the post season. Baltimore, don’t let me down.

Arizona Cardinals (3-10)

Before you see that record and Cardinals win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, you need to remember something, the Steelers lost starting quarterback Kenny Pickett relatively early in the game. From there, nothing went the Steelers’ way with missed field goals and Kyler Murray doing Kyler Murray things to what we thought was a good defense.

Who’s Pickett’s backup? Mitch Trubisky, which is no Trey Lance to Jimmy G, or Jimmy G to Brock Purdy. Who would have thought? When you lose your starting quarterback, things can happen.

In any case, credit to the Cardinals for going into Pittsburgh and taking care of business, but given the Steelers lost their starting quarterback, 24-3 makes a bit more sense now when you understand why the Steelers couldn’t get anything going on offense.

Now here’s the really strange thing: The Cardinals are still in it. With three wins, they can still secure a playoff spot. It’s almost impossible, but there’s that chance. They unfortunately have to win out and then hope for a lot of things beyond their control, but it’s possible. Given they are going to a bye, their playoff future may be decided without them even stepping on the field in Week 14.

Into Week 14

The Seahawks and 49ers will be meeting for their second divisional game. While the 49ers are the better team and favored by double digits, Seahawks games can be weird. Plus the Seahawks’ backs are against the wall. A loss here won’t eliminate them from the playoffs completely, but it’s not going to help them at all. Should the 49ers win, the Seahawks will be eliminated from divisional contention.

The Cardinals get a bye week. That is quite a late bye week. Anyways, bye.

The Rams will be going to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. With any luck the Ravens can hand the Rams a loss to put an end to this three-game winning streak. The Rams have a slew of ho-hum teams after the Ravens, so this is the last good team they play until the 49ers on January 7.

1st: San Francisco 49ers; Next: vs. Seattle Seahawks

2nd: Los Angeles Rams; Next: at Baltimore Ravens

3rd: Seattle Seahawks; Next: at San Francisco 49ers

4th: Arizona Cardinals; Next: BYE