10 things the 49ers need to do to reach the Super Bowl in 2020

San Francisco 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
San Francisco 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers Week 17 position grades
LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 30: Nickell Robey-Coleman #23 of the Los Angeles Rams is unable to defend against a touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne #84 of the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of a game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 30, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

No. 5: Win the NFC West

Finishing 2019 on a hot streak would vastly improve the 49ers’ chances of seizing the NFC West crown — an achievement the team hasn’t done since 2012.

The NFC West is shaping up to be a tough division in 2019. If the Niners surge back from a disappointing season, they’ll be in contention with the Rams, who are coming off a Super Bowl loss, and the 10-6 Seattle Seahawks, who didn’t fall victim to the thought they’d completely regress after a tumultuous 2018 offseason.

As pointed out here, the Rams’ loss in Super Bowl LIII could have some offseason ramifications. Additionally, they’ll have some tough free-agent decisions to make between now and the start of the regular season.

And who knows how big a Super Bowl hangover might be?

Meanwhile, the Seahawks are still a serious playoff threat. But the 49ers, who managed to finally end an elongated losing streak to Seattle in 2018, could at least be in a position to match up equally with their division rivals.

The Arizona Cardinals are at least two years away from contending.

A path to the Super Bowl would all but require San Francisco to win the division, not just in cliche, but rather to provide some postseason home-field advantage and the confidence necessary to make it deep into the playoffs.