Despite being tied for the second-best record in the NFC (and the NFL, for that matter), the San Francisco 49ers are the ccrème de la crème of the conference. Aside from that three-game skid in the middle of the season, the Niners dominated the NFC and did so against the best teams. That 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 pulled ahead of both the Eagles and Cowboys as the class of the conference. The Eagles and Cowboys combined failed to put 30 points on the board against the 49ers, while those boys from the Bay Area totaled 84 against the NFC East’s best offering. When the Niners stay on track, play their game and impose their will on opponents, they are the toughest draw in the league.
On Sunday, SF harassed Philly for three quarters after an embarrassing layup. The Niners gained a mere -6 yards in the first quarter, then exploded in the second and never looked back. The 49ers rolled up more than 450 yards in nine offensive drives after going negative on their first two drives. They walked into Philadelphia and bullied the bully. San Francisco beat them so badly that current Eagles CB Darius Slay got a little sensitive and took former LB Seth Joyner to Twitter over his comments. It looks bad in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Niners have beaten several teams in the playoff hunt along the way and have built an impressive resume over the past few months with wins 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 teams the Niners defeated.
That three-game losing streak against the Browns, Vikings and Bengals is behind them 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 beat on Philly kept them alive for the no. 1 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye. Oh, and they still play the best defense in the league, being one of only two teams not to give up a total of 200 points so far this season. The Niners and Ravens have allowed less than 190 points through 12 games, which is absurd in today’s NFL. And they have a big Monday Night Football game on Christmas Eve in a few weeks.
Baltimore and San Francisco could end up being No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences. It might be a Super Bowl preview in Week 16. It’s a battle of two defensive teams that can also put up points in a hurry. This should be a great game and the toughest remaining game on SF’s schedule. Although easier said than done, they need to keep the ship on course and that no. 1 seed could be theirs. It’s just a matter of getting it done now, but the Niners are definitely in the driver’s seat.