About 10 months ago, the San Francisco 49ers eliminated the Seattle Seahawks from the Wild Card round, defeating them for the third time in the year. Despite a halftime lead for Seattle on the road, being outscored 27-7 in the second half of that Wild Card team highlighted the already obvious gap between these two division rivals.
While San Francisco added some reinforcements in the offseason and even during this season to add to an already complete roster, the Seahawks planned their offseason to close the aforementioned gap. 11 weeks through the NFL season, Seattle has shown significant improvement from last year. Their ultimate test falls on Thanksgiving night in a measuring stick game against the team they have been planning to take down.
As for the remainder of the NFC West, the Los Angeles Rams are now players in a mediocre Wild Card race. For Arizona, a top 5 pick is seeming more likely. But, the play of Kyler Murray might alter their off-season plans.
Week 12 NFC West standings: Seahawks play Niners for division lead
After a rough three-game skid, it appears as if the San Francisco 49ers have once again, found their footing. In large part, it's due to health. However, the Achilles heel of this team based on their three losses is playing from behind. If the 49ers can get out to an early lead against the Seahawks, I expect to see what we have seen in the last two weeks. But, if they fall behind, it will be interesting to see how they respond on the road in a hostile environment with a lot at stake.
The Seattle Seahawks are 3-0 on the year following a loss. Entering the toughest stretch of their season, the response of this team will be telling. On a short week with injuries playing a factor, I expect Pete Carroll to have his team fired up to play under the bright lights. Although San Francisco has one of the best rosters in the NFL, the Seahawks are going to be inspired to show everyone else they can go toe-to-toe with them. I do believe Geno Smith will be under center for this game and I do expect a close battle.
The win over the Seahawks in Week 11 has given this Rams team new life. They are all of a sudden in the Wild Card race. However, the health of Cooper Kupp will determine how far of a run this team can make. With a tough remaining schedule, if the Rams cannot muster consistency on the offensive end, they will flutter out. But, on Sunday, they face a Cardinals team whom they have historically had success against under Sean McVay.
The return of Kyler Murray has sparked new life into this Cardinals team. Despite a 2-9 record, they are a gritty team that plays till the very end. Even though they do not currently have the talent to overcome self-inflicted wounds, they are an organization that is trending in the right direction. Jonathan Gannon has succeeded in establishing a culture, laying the foundation for a franchise that has otherwise not been known for having winning habits.