The 49ers increased their lead in the NFC West in Week 11, thanks to a little help from another division foe.
It was pretty important for the San Francisco 49ers not to fall victim to a would-be trap game against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 11.
Sure, the Bucs are feisty despite being below the .500 mark, and the Niners did pull off a commanding win the previous week on the road against a surging Jacksonville Jaguars team. But, with two road games against the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively, San Francisco needed to get a win in the books before squaring off against those two playoff contenders.
Well, the 49ers did just that, beating the Bucs 27-14 to improve to 7-3.
The good news didn't end there for head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. either, as the Los Angeles Rams held on and beat the Hawks 17-16 to force Seattle to 6-4, one full game behind the Niners in the NFC West standings.
While it's weird for San Francisco to be rooting for LA, at least for 60 minutes of game play, such a thing happened.
49ers stay put in NFC West lead, conference standings after Week 11
Week 11 will wrap up on Monday Night Football with the 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles visiting the 7-2 Kansas City Chiefs in a rematch of last February's Super Bowl.
Even if Philly loses that game, it'll remain in first place within the NFC over the No. 2-seeded Detroit Lions, who won their Week 11 tilt over the Chicago Bears, because of a better conference record.
The 49ers, meanwhile, stay third in the NFC playoff picture:
- Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)*
- Detroit Lions (8-2)
- San Francisco 49ers (7-3)
- New Orleans Saints (5-5)
- Dallas Cowboys (7-3)
- Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
- Minnesota Vikings (6-5)
Ironically, if the regular season ended after Week 11, the Niners would host the Hawks again at Levi's Stadium for a Wild Card game, just like last year.
No NFC West team is eliminated from playoffs... yet
San Francisco leads the division and holds a crucial 2-0 record within the NFC West, while Seattle is now 1-2 in the division after losing to LA.
With the 49ers and Seahawks seeded first and second within the NFC West, respectively, the Rams improved to 4-6 but are still two spots out of a playoff berth in the No. 9 seed.
The two-win Arizona Cardinals, meanwhile, are bringing up the rear of the division but haven't been eliminated from postseason play just yet despite losing their Week 11 contest versus the Houston Texans.
The Niners and Hawks do face each other in Week 12, though, in a primetime Thursday Night Football showdown on Thanksgiving, which could carry some massive implications as far as the NFC West (and conference standings as a whole) are concerned.