SF 49ers: 5 items on Kyle Shanahan’s to-do list during bye week

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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SF 49ers, LA Rams
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward (20) breaks up a pass to Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (18) Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: SF 49ers must treat Week 12 vs. LA Rams as a playoff game

Well, it essentially is.

Despite all the woes the Niners have endured this season, the NFC West is still entirely up for grabs. While San Francisco is still in last place, the Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams are all locked up together with 6-3 records.

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Sure, the Niners hold three more games in the loss column. But their previous win this season over the Rams already gives them the tiebreaking edge here.

One more win would ensure any record tie at the end of the season between San Francisco and Los Angeles would go Kyle Shanahan’s way. And that could be the difference between a second- or third-place finish in the division and one of those crucial Wild Card spots in the playoff standings.

So, in a bigger sense, Week 12 is a playoff game already. Shanahan and the SF 49ers need to treat it as such.

Shanahan owns a 4-3 record over his friend and former coaching ally, Rams head coach Sean McVay, including three consecutive wins dating back through 2019. L.A. swept the season series in 2018, yet that won’t matter much when considering how much is on the line for both teams.

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One has to figure a Niners Week 12 win over the Rams would go a long way in improving those dim playoff chances, and it’s a bonus Shanahan will have two weeks to prepare.