The San Francisco 49ers NFC West title and playoff hopes are still alive after surviving a come-from-behind win at home against the Los Angeles Chargers, 22-16, in prime time on Sunday Night Football. It was not a perfect game for the 49ers, but it was a much-needed win coming off the bye week. The 49ers’ are in a great position heading into a Monday Night football showdown with the Arizona Cardinals. They still have many questions heading into the playoff push. One question remains: Can they survive the remaining schedule in the NFC West?
NFC West Gauntlet
After the 49ers’ gritty come-from-behind win against the Chargers on Sunday night football, they improve their record to 5-4 and sit in second place in the NFC West. They are only a half-game out of first place in the standings to the Seattle Seahawks in the race NFC West division. However, the win against the Chargers poses an interesting question. Can the 49ers survive the NFC West and win the division?
Going into week eleven, the 49ers are 3-0 in the NFC west, with a win against Seattle at home in week two, and sweeping the season series against the defending super-bowl champions Los Angeles Rams. They face the Arizona Cardinals in their first meeting of the season, who they play twice in the last eight weeks of the season, in a home matchup going to be played in Mexico City on Monday Night Football.
The 49ers’ defense will be tested with an explosive offense led by dual-threat quarterback Kyler Murray, if healthy, superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and running back James Conner. San Francisco has always had trouble containing dual-threat quarterbacks, especially with Murray, and the 49ers’ defense will have their hands full with the explosive weapons Arizona has on offense. The 49ers’ NFC West title chances hinge on the two games against the Cardinals and the one game against the Seattle Seahawks on the road in Seattle, Washington.
49ers NFC West Title Blueprint
The 49ers’ NFC West title chances may hinge on the week 15 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night football. Reminiscent of the 2019 49ers season, whoever wins the final matchup between the 49ers and Seahawks might win the NFC West division crown.
The 49ers’ NFC West title hopes hinge on their identity, running the ball effectively on offense, rushing the passer on defense, and playing complementary football in all three phases of the game. If they can win at least two out of the following three games against their division opponents, two against the Cardinals and one against the Seahawks, then the 49ers’ NFC west title chances will be pretty high.
They are getting healthy at the right time with key impact players back on the field, Elijah Mitchell, Juan Jennings, and Mooney Ward, and it’s showing on the field with their efficient and effective execution on both sides of the football.
49ers Cause for Concern
There are a few questions and cause for concern with the 49ers for the second half of the season. First, injury issues have been an issue, but they seem to be as healthy as they have been all season. The 49ers are in a good place right now, 5-4, coming off a gritty come-from-behind win against Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers, but there is one cause for concern.
One major cause for concern that the 49ers need to improve is their offensive red-zone efficiency. The offensive red zone efficiency from last year to this year is concerning. In the 2021 season, the 49ers’ red-zone touchdown percentage was top 5 in the NFL, 64 percentile, but this year it has gone down significantly to around 54 percent. Undoubtedly, this is an issue for the 49ers going forward. They cannot settle for field goals after long drives. They must score touchdowns if they want to win games against playoff teams.
Keep an eye out these next eight games to see if they can improve their offensive red-zone efficiency. They have more than enough weapons on offense with Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, Elijah Mitchell, and Kyle Juszczyk to score touchdowns in the red zone rather than settle for field goals.
If the 49ers can consistently score touchdowns in the red zone and not settle for field goals, then they will have a much better chance of winning games with the way their defense is playing at an elite level this year. The 49ers’ NFC west title and playoff hopes will be determined by if the offense can turn long drives into touchdown drives rather than field goal drives. If they can score touchdowns and not settle for field goals, they should be able to survive the NFC West, make a run for the playoffs, and compete for the Super Bowl this season.
For More 49ers & NFL Content
Follow me on Twitter at @b_eglesia
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE