Despite being tied for the second-best record in the NFC (and the NFL, for that matter), the San Francisco 49ers are the crème de la crème of the conference. Aside from that three-game slide in the middle of the season, the Niners have dominated the NFC and done it against the best teams. This was confirmed in Week 13’s meeting with the Eagles in Philadelphia, where SF avenged their loss in last year’s NFC title game.
San Francisco has pulled ahead of both the Eagles and Cowboys as the class of the conference. The Eagles and Cowboys, combined, couldn’t put 30 points on the board against the 49ers, while those boys from the Bay Area totaled 84 against the best offering from the NFC East. When the Niners stay on track, play their game and impose their will on opponents, they’re the toughest draw in the league.
On Sunday, SF dogged Philly for three quarters after an embarrassing start. The Niners gained a measly -6 yards in the first quarter, then exploded in the second and never looked back. The 49ers reeled off over 450 yards in nine offensive drives after going into the negative in their first two drives. They walked into Philadelphia and bullied the bully. San Francisco beat ‘em so bad that current Eagles CB Darius Slay got a little sensitive and went after former LB Seth Joyner on Twitter over his commentary. It’s looking bad in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Niners have beaten multiple teams in the playoff hunt along the way and have built up an impressive resume over the past few months with ictories over the Eagles, Cowboys, Seahawks & Rams, who are all alive in the NFC postseason chase. You can add the Steelers and Jaguars as the AFC playoff hopefuls that the Niners have downed.
That three-game losing streak to the Browns, Vikings and Bengals is in the rearview and the 49ers are focused. SF has the best record in the conference (7-1) and one of the best home records (4-1). Putting that beatdown on Philly kept them alive for the No. 1 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye. Oh, and they are still playing the best defense in the league, being one of only two teams that haven’t given up a total of 200 points so far his season. The Niners and Ravens have allowed less than 190 points through 12 games, which is absurd in today’s NFL. And they’ve got a huge Monday Night Football matchup on Christmas night in a few weeks.
Baltimore and San Francisco could end up No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences. This might be a Super Bowl preview in Week 16. It’s a battle of two defensive-minded teams that can also pile up points in a hurry. It should be a great game and the toughest remaining contest on SF’s schedule. While it’s easier said than accomplished, they’ve got to keep the ship on course and that No. 1 seed can be theirs. It’s only a matter of getting it done now, but the Niners are definitely in the driver’s seat.