With two divisional matchups in the books from Week 4, we now have a better idea of the landscape in the NFC West and it isn’t pretty for the San Francisco 49ers.
Unfortunately for the San Francisco 49ers, the 21-28 Week 4 loss to the Seattle Seahawks has left them at the bottom of the NFC West and an exceptionally hard game against the Arizona Cardinals to come.
In a rare stroke of luck for the team, both could end up not missing any action and are still potentially playing on Sunday.
And that is a relief because the ascension of the 4-0 Cardinals to the top of the division has radically changed the NFC West, with them and the 3-1 Los Angeles Rams well ahead of where San Francisco and Seattle, both 2-2, are now.
The 49ers have left something to be desired, offensively, with both injuries and strategy playing a role. The two wins from the team are over the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles which doesn’t give much confidence.
Now, true, the Eagles certainly are by no means horrible, but they’re certainly not among the elite either. The Lions are the Lions, which should be explanation enough.
There have been some promising signs against the Green Bay Packers and Seahawks in their two losses, but when you’re in such a strong division, you need more than just signs to return to the playoffs. This isn’t the NFC East.
Defensively, the team has been hot and cold, and nowhere was that more poignant than against the Seahawks. To begin the game the defensive line overwhelmed the Seahawks blockers, only to lose the battle as the game went on. With the offense sputtering, the defense wasn’t able to hold off Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson forever.
The NFC West is a changing landscape, but no less challenging. The Seahawks have lost a step but are still a very strong team. The Rams and especially the Cardinals have taken big steps forward in 2021.
Week 4 may be less than a quarter of the way into the season, but that’s precisely why the 49ers need to find something more right now. It isn’t too late to correct the course.
Injuries haven’t helped, but the Niners are still in serious danger of being left behind if they don’t find another level this season.
If they don’t, they may be destined to miss the playoffs again.
A lot was gleaned from this round of NFC West games, and now there are another two games this week. If the 49ers can upset the Cardinals, the landscape may end up changing once again in this division.