The 49ers relinquished hold of the NFC West after a three-game losing streak, but being idle in Week 9 allowed them to reclaim the division lead.
The San Francisco 49ers are back to being the best in the NFC West. For now, at least.
This comes on the heels of the Niners being idle in Week 9, taking a much-needed break during the bye week after a three-game losing streak saw them drop not only out of the No. 1 spot in the conference but also out of the lead within the NFC West.
Those pesky Seattle Seahawks, who were thought to be only a distant challenger to San Francisco for the rights to the division this year, ended up claiming it because of a 5-2 record, which translated to a better winning percentage than the 49ers' 5-3 mark entering Week 9.
Perhaps the Niners should have more bye weeks. It's hard to keep losing streaks going when a team isn't playing, right?
As it turned out, not playing actually benefited San Francisco within the NFC West.
49ers back in 1st place within NFC West after Seahawks lose to Ravens
The Hawks already had their bye, meaning both teams would have an equal number of games played after Week 9 concluded.
While the 49ers were idle, Seattle had to travel east to take on the Baltimore Ravens, a game the Seahawks lost 37-3 and one that presented them with another tick in the loss column to equal the Niners' record.
From that point, it goes to tiebreakers. San Francisco is 2-0 within the division, while the Hawks are 1-1.
As such, the 49ers are now back in first place within the NFC West and have a top-four spot in the NFC playoff picture:
- Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)*
- Detroit Lions (6-2)*
- San Francisco 49ers (5-3)*
- New Orleans Saints (5-4)*
- Seattle Seahawks (5-3)
- Dallas Cowboys (5-3)
- Minnesota Vikings (5-4)
*denotes division leader
Needless to say, the Niners should be thanking Baltimore for doing them a favor and delivering Seattle a much-needed defeat, which could pay a large role by the time Week 18 rolls around.
Additionally, though, it'd be helpful if San Francisco rediscovered its winning ways.