With the victory over the Patriots, the 49ers clinched a playoff spot. They also gave the middle finger to the “regression to norm” stat geeks who solemnly pronounced last summer the Niners 2012 record would only be 9-7. With two games to go, they will win either 11 or 12 games.
It’s tough to win two emotional games in a row, so the 49ers prepared for this Sunday’s game against the Seahawks by getting thrashed in the second half of the Patriots game. Our boys cleverly used one game to both win a highly charged contest and get crushed in it. Going to Seattle, their last memories are watching Tom Brady effortlessly throw 31 points down their throats in little more than one quarter of action.
The Seahawks have completely roasted two teams in a row — two really bad teams, and ran up the score on both of them. When the Niners ran up the score on the Bucs last year, they were punished immediately by losing Josh Morgan for the season. His presence during the playoffs, given the feeble output provided by their WRs, might have been quite useful. The Seahawks have yet to be punished for their own bad behavior. Maybe retribution will occur this week or in the playoffs.
The unearned victory Seattle received from the replacement refs way back in the early part of the season has curious playoff implications now. They are 9-5 instead of 8-6 and a loss to the Niners this week would likely have kept them out of the playoffs. As it is, given the mess in the NFC East and NFC South, plus the collapsing Bears, they are a home win over the Rams from being the number five seed, whether they win or lose against the Niners.
That unearned victory is what now makes the 49ers the current number two seed rather than the Packers. It will be a moot point, if they lose to the Seahawks Sunday night and fall to the third seed. But if they win out and keep the number two seed, Jim Harbaugh can send a thank you note to Pete Carroll rubbing Carroll’s own glee back in his face. And the Packers can remain steamed.
The AFC playoff race is all but decided. The only remaining drama, if you could use that word, is which two flawed teams from the AFC North will get into the dance as the fourth and sixth seeds. The NFC is quite different, where five 8-6 teams are fighting for the last two playoff spots. The Giants are one of this fivesome, and nobody out here would be saddened to see them ousted from the postseason.
The Sunday night game with Seattle will introduce the world to what promises to be a blood and guts battle between two franchises and two jerk coaches that will go on for many years to come. The media and its eaters love feuds and these two teams, coaches, players, and fans do not like each other. This could become the best rivalry in the NFL over the next few years. Even if it is on the West Coast.