The 49ers have their bye in Week 6, yet the NFC West standings mandate they’ll be pulling for the Steelers on Sunday night versus Geno Smith and the Seahawks.
For all the frustrations the San Francisco 49ers have endured five weeks into the 2021 season, it is actually nice for the bye week to be here now at a time when both the team and its fans don’t have to stress about what the red and gold are doing on game day.
A frustrating three-game losing streak has pushed the Niners to last place within the NFC West, yet the remaining division rivals are all playing in Week 6, leading to a potential shakeup within the division without San Francisco having to do anything.
Needless to say, the 49ers are going to be rooting for the New York Giants (playing the Los Angeles Rams), Cleveland Browns (playing the Arizona Cardinals) and Pittsburgh Steelers (playing the Seattle Seahawks) in Week 6.
But considering the desire to get out of the divisional basement, it’s the final game between Pittsburgh and Seattle, capping off Sunday’s action on Sunday Night Football, that should draw the most interest.
49ers can actively root for Steelers to knock off Seahawks on Sunday
The NFC West hasn’t been too kind to the Niners so far this season, and the divisional standings are as follows entering Week 6:
- Arizona Cardinals — 5-0
- Los Angeles Rams — 4-1
- Seattle Seahawks — 2-3
- San Francisco 49ers — 2-3
San Francisco, by the way of the tiebreaker loss to Seattle in Week 4, finds itself in last place, but the rankings would shift if the Seahawks wind up suffering another game in the loss column.
Of course, Seattle’s own bye is in Week 9 when the 49ers face off against the Cardinals again, who already hold a 2-0 record within the division in contrast to the Niners’ 0-2 NFC West record thus far. But it’s safe to say San Francisco would be more than happy to watch Pittsburgh hand head coach Pete Carroll’s squad another loss during the idle week.
Russell Wilson’s injury changes everything for Seahawks, giving way to Geno Smith
Quarterback Russell Wilson landing on injured reserve with a finger injury suffered against the Rams in Week 5 is quite the development, prompting FanSided’s Matt Verderame to drop Seattle all the way from No. 12 to No. 23 in his Week 6 NFL power rankings.
Yes, Wilson is that important. Especially for a Seahawks team that has given up more yards (2,254) than any other team in the league this season.
This means plenty of backup quarterback Geno Smith to face off against a Steelers defense that’s still ranked 10th best in scoring despite Pittsburgh’s own offensive shortcomings. Smith went 10-of-17 for 131 yards, a touchdown against an interception with a 78.3 passer rating in relief of Wilson in Week 5.
The oddsmakers over at WynnBET currently list Pittsburgh as a 4.5-point favorite, but the Seahawks’ own defensive concerns and the absence of Wilson with Smith in his place open this game up for a potential Steelers defensive blowout.
At least that’s what San Francisco will be hoping for.