And yet, here we are. The 49ers are in the NFC Championship Game, with home field no less, and they get to face the Green Bay Packers. Again. Had you told me at the beginning of the year that the Packers were going to the NFC Championship game, I don’t think I would’ve gone 100% “Sure, Jan” but I still wasn’t 100% sold on them either.
However, both teams have proven me wrong and will face each other to earn a spot in the Super Bowl. So, what’s it going to take for each team to get there?
After a dramatic and controversial win over the New Orleans Saints, the Minnesota Vikings now head to the Bay Area to take on the NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers who were enjoying a first-round bye.
The last time the 49ers played the Vikings was the first game of the 2018 season, and the Vikings came away with the win, however, you and I both know that the 49ers were a much different team last year. The Niners finished last year with a record of 4-12 and not expected to make any noise this year. Ahh, but they did.
Lets just put this out there before we even begin. The NFC West is one of, if not THE best division in football. In fact, I can’t think of a single division that is as competitive top to bottom as the NFCW.
Yes, I realize that that the Arizona Cardinals have had a bit of a slump as of late, but if we try to peer into the future just a bit, the West could steal the name “Black and Blue Division” from the NFC North. A lot of this success, past, present and probable future, is due to the quarterbacks. Let’s take a look at the four signal-callers, and why they will be leading their teams for years to come.
Oddsmakers had the San Francisco 49’ers winning against the Arizona Cardinals. Most also expected the Los Angeles Rams to beat the Chicago Bears. Everyone knew the Seattle Seahawks would rest up and get healthy, with it being their bye week and all.
All of these things happened. Yet in all these expected outcomes, a few things stood out that were unexpected.
Let’s take a look at week 11 for the NFC West and peek into week 12.
Since the Seattle Seahawks were on their bye in week 11, I’ll start there. After beating the San Francisco 49’ers in week 10 on Monday Night Football, it was a prime time to get the bye week and rest up. The most significant thing we are waiting for more about is the injury wide receiver Tyler Lockett sustained at the end of that game. While head coach Pete Carroll said they expected him to be fine, no official word has come out.
About the Author: Matt is a sports writer for @49ershub, @SportsTalkLine, and @TheScorecrow, and is a longtime San Francisco 49ers fan. He has been a 49ers fan since the days of Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Jerry Rice. Aside from Jerry Rice, his favorite player was Merton Hanks, loved his dance after he made an interception. Let’s go Faithful.
In hockey the standings are based on a point system and you still gain a point for an overtime loss. In the NFL a loss in overtime is the same as a loss in regulation. There are no moral victories in the NFL. Last Monday, the undefeated streak for the San Francisco 49ers came to an end when they lost in overtime to their bitter rival the Seattle Seahawks.
Retired army General Colin Powell once said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
There was a ton of excitement from these division teams last week including one team ended with a tie to break in the season. But even though the underdogs of this division lost, they proved that they can give the opposing team a run for their money.
Each of the NFC West games this week may not be so concrete as who will win their matchup.
LA Rams vs Saints/Sunday, 4:25pm ET
Why not start Week 2 with an exciting game as it will be a rematch of the controversial game from last season’s playoffs. Remember, it was the bad pass interference call that cost the Saints the game and sent the Rams to the Super Bowl. But now with the new rule change of reviewing pass interference calls, let’s see if the game can stay clean with these two teams.
Snakebit. Injury bug. Plain old bad luck. Whatever you want to call it, whatever your favorite term, the San Francisco 49’ers has it. Due to injuries, the promise of the 2018 season, one that looked so bright in the offseason, seems to have lost its luster.
Every team goes through it at some point. Players seem to go down week after week with season-ending injuries. Once it gets started it’s like a train that cant’ be stopped. For San Francisco, injuries hit early and quick.
Obviously, the biggest hit was quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo who had just gotten a 5 year, $137 million contract. Garoppolo was expected to be the second coming of Joe Montana and was proving he was worth every dime. Then in the third game of the season, he took off for a 13-yard run, sliding at the end. Unfortunately, that slide caused a torn ACL. San Francisco was then forced to go with backup QB C.J. Beathard for the rest of the season.