With the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers still in lockstep with identical 6-3 records, it’s looking more and more like the NFC West title will be decided in Weeks 12 and 14 via the head-to-head matchups.
If one team wins both games, the division race will be all but settled.
However, if the teams split their home-and-away series then it could be a horse race all the way through Week 18.
And the division title could be decided by a tiebreaker.
There will be no shortage of analysis and comparisons between these two teams over the next few weeks, but today we’re just looking at the schedules (and making some predictions).
Here’s who the Niners have left on their schedule:
- Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- At Seahawks
- At Philadelphia Eagles
- Vs. Seahawks
- At Arizona Cardinals
- Vs. Baltimore Ravens
- At Washington Commanders
- Vs. Los Angeles Rams
Here’s who the Seahawks have left:
- At Rams
- Vs. 49ers
- At Dallas Cowboys
- At 49ers
- Vs. Eagles
- At Tennessee Titans
- Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
- At Cardinals
Cross-referencing those two lists yields the following:
Teams both teams play over the final eight weeks:
Both Seattle and San Francisco have one game remaining with both the Rams and the Cardinals.
Seattle is 1-1 against those teams so far this year; San Francisco is 2-0.
The Seahawks’ remaining games against their non-Whiner division rivals are both on the road (yuck!) whereas Santa Clara faces L.A. at home.
The much more interesting commonality is that both teams have an upcoming game against the defending NFC Champions. San Francisco travels to Philadelphia in Week 13 whereas Seattle hosts the Eagles in Week 15.
Teams one team plays over the final eight weeks that the other team has already played:
Seattle’s last 2 games were in Baltimore (37-3 loss) and at home vs the Commanders (29-26 win). The 49ers face those two teams, back-to-back, in Week 16 and Week 17, but in the opposite environment (Ravens at home, and at Washington).
Given the fact that Lamar Jackson is 18-1 against NFC teams, it seems like a reasonably safe bet that the Niners will match the Seahawks’ 1-1 record against against Baltimore and Washington.
On the Seattle side of the equation, Seattle faces the Cowboys (on the road) and the Steelers (at home). Unsurprisingly, San Fran got those two teams in the opposite environments (at home vs. the Cowboys; on the road vs. the Steelers).
To say that the 49ers DESTROYED those two teams would be something of an understatement.
Week 1: San Francisco 30, Pittsburgh 7
- Total yards: 391 to 239 (including 188 to 41 on the ground)
- First downs: 22 to 15
- Turnovers: 2:1
- Time of Possession: 37:23 to 22:37
Week 5: San Francisco 42, Dallas 10
- Total Yards: 421 to 197 (including 170 to 57 on the ground)
- First Downs: 25 to 8
- Turnovers: 4:1
- Time of Possession: 37:05 to 22:55
Obviously, the Seahawks have never really been a team that “destroys” opponents - at least not under Pete Carroll, and never consistently, so the outcomes of those two games should be closer than they were for the Niners.
That said, splitting the two games seems doable and, despite Dallas’ incredible record at home, Seattle could go 2-0.
Note: Dallas has won 12 straight home games, including a 4-0 record at home this year with an average score of 40 to 13 (or 12.5 if you don’t round up).
Teams one team plays that the other team doesn’t (and hasn’t):
Santa Clara hosts the underperforming Buccaneers this week in a game that they are heavily favored to win.
Seattle answers that with a Week 16 road game against the underperforming (or maybe just not good) Titans who currently sit at No. 15 in the AFC pecking order.
Both of those games should end in the NFC West team’s favor.
I am nothing if not a biased 12 so, obviously, I’m going to predict that the Seahawks will win the NFC West IF they can sweep the season series with the Niners.
If not . . .
I think both teams go 2-0 in their remaining games against the Rams and Cardinals which means the status quo is maintained in that regard.
I think the Eagles will either go 2-0 or 0-2 against the Seahawks and the Whiners so that doesn’t affect the NFC West race one way or the other.
I think San Francisco will go 1-1 against the Ravens and Commanders and the Seahawks will match that against the Cowboys and Steelers so, again, there’s zero impact on the division race.
Last but not least, I’ve already predicted that the two “non-common” games will end in the NFC West team’s favor which means that there is no net affect on the division race . . . except as it relates to possible tiebreakers.
Right now, San Francisco and Seattle are tied record-wise but, technically, the Niners sit atop the NFC West (and hold the No. 2 seed in the playoffs) because they have a better division record than the Seahawks do.
If the Seahawks and 49ers maintain their pace and neither team sweeps the division series, nothing changes.
And we need something to change, so . . .
And GO whoever plays the Niners each week !!!!!!