49ers: Notes from Week 16 and a look ahead to Week 17

49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Huge win for the San Francisco 49ers as they complete the season sweep of the Los Angeles Rams and march forward to see if they can knock off Russell Wilson at The Link in Week 17.

The San Francisco 49ers are back in the driver’s seat after their 34-31 victory over the Los Angeles Rams this past Saturday. They now hold their fate in their hands, which is a great position to be in.

Simply put, if they win next week in Seattle, they get the No. 1 seed in the NFC and win the division with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. If they lose, they fall back to the fifth spot and will have to go to either Philadelphia or Dallas for Wild Card weekend.

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Big stakes coming up for one of the best teams in football this year, but for now, let’s talk about this game against the Rams.

The Rams came out blazing here and looked to be in complete control until late in the second quarter when San Francisco turned the tide in their direction by going up 24-21 on the back of a Jared Goff mistake. Fred Warner made a beautiful read in the flat and took a Goff pass to the house for six.

From there, the second half was pretty much even at 10-10, but that late stretch in the first half turned out to be the difference-maker in this game as a Robbie Gould field goal as time expired won the Niners the game.

But here’s the thing, we once again saw the 49ers defense get moved on rather easily as Goff threw for 323 yards with two touchdowns and the Rams put up nearly 400 total yards while also going 3-for-3 in the red zone.

Here’s the good news, though, the 49ers made their key defensive plays and had success late in this game rushing the passer and disrupting the pocket.

So, even though they’re still not getting opposing offenses off the field without any points, they’re getting back their big playmaking swagger.

As for the Rams, it looks like the defending NFC champs are going to be sitting out this postseason as they can finish at-best 9-7. They’ve had a tough time all year protecting Jared Goff and getting the run game going with Todd Gurley.

Moving forward, the Rams are a team with some heavy contracts (some good, some bad) that aren’t going to allow them to load up their roster with key supporting players.

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This is a big advantage for the 49ers in the division in the coming years as they’re putting together a possible 13-3 season and potential Super Bowl run with a team that’s one of the youngest in the league.

So, be on the lookout (if something happens and the 49ers don’t come through in the playoffs this year) for them to continue their dominance in the NFC West.

One last thing before I go. The Seahawks beat the 49ers last time out, but in my opinion, there is no better time for the Niners to exact their revenge than right now. Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise both went down in the Arizona Cardinals game and are set to be done for the season.

That’s now three running backs down for Seattle, and in case you weren’t aware, the run game is a big component of Seattle’s success. Not only that, but now left tackle Duane Brown is having hip surgery and should be shelved for at least next week.

That means the Seahawks are now fully-reliant on Russell Wilson (if they weren’t already). They have a questionable offensive line, a non-existent running game now, and a defense that’s allowing about 381 total yards per game.

I understand it’s Russell Wilson we’re talking about here and there’s no real way to prepare for such a beast, but if you’re the 49ers, you NEED to go up to Seattle and win this next game.

Not only do you need to win to grab the division and home-field advantage, but you also need to prove you can beat a top-tier quarterback like Wilson in your division.

Next. The 49ers have the best defense in football and the numbers back it up. dark

I’m excited to see what the 49ers do this upcoming week. I think they can pull it off.