After the worst loss of the season on Christmas Day at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, the San Francisco 49ers are on the road against the Washington Commanders in Week 17. While a game with a near-two touchdown spread doesn't often have storylines attached, this game is different.
There are a lot of ties between the 49ers and Commanders, specifically on San Francisco's side. Head coach Kyle Shanahan spent four years on the Washington coaching staff under his father Mike Shanahan and has not been shy about ripping the organization that used to employ him.
All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams had a decade-long stint with the organization that did not end on great terms before he was traded to the 49ers. And most recently, former first-overall pick Chase Young was traded from the Commanders to the 49ers this season for a compensatory third-round pick.
Young has downplayed his return to FedEx Field leading into Week 17's game but it quickly became clear during the 49ers' pre-game intros that this wasn't just another football game. Young made the calculated decision to walk out of the tunnel with Williams in a move that definitely was not an accident.
49ers-Commanders clearly is a revenge game for Chase Young
The former first overall pick can downplay the matchup all he wants but we all know how much this game means to him. Heck, you could see the emotions dripping off of his face when he first took the sidelines at FedEx Field. This is not a normal Week 17 game against a bad team with a two-touchdown spread.
This game still has big implications for the 49ers in the playoffs as well. After losing to Baltimore, San Francisco is tied atop the NFC with the Philadelphia Eagles. The 49ers have the tiebreaker advantage over Philly but cannot afford to drop a game in the final two weeks of the season.
As long as the 49ers take care of business against the Commanders and LA Rams then they will be the No. 1 seed in the NFC and will have a first-round bye. If the 49ers continue last week's skid, though, then the door will be open for the Eagles to beat the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants to steal the No. 1 seed.
All 49ers fans want on New Year's Eve is a clean, stress-free game that makes quick work of the Commanders. It would be nice if Chase Young had a big moment or two, as well.