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NFC West Report: Still Crowded at the Top

Posted Dec 24, 2013

Checking in on how the 49ers divisional rivals fared in their Week 16 matchups around the NFL.

In this edition of the NFC West Report, 49ers.com recaps Week 16's action.

San Francisco's 34-24 victory over the Atlanta Falcons was one of three divisional victories in Week 16. Colin Kaepernick's playoff-clinching performance, coupled with Frank Gore calling his own number and, oh yeah, NaVorro Bowman's play to remember set the 49ers up for their narrow victory to close out Candlestick Park the right way.

Playoff Scenarios

The 49ers specific spot in the playoffs is still somewhat undecided and entirely dependent on Week 17 action. The team would land the...

No. 1 seed if it beats Arizona and Seattle falls to St. Louis and Carolina falls to Atlanta.

No. 2 seed if it beats Arizona and Seattle falls to St. Louis and Carolina beats Atlanta.

No. 5 seed if it beats Arizona and Seattle beats St. Louis, or if it falls to Arizona and New Orleans falls to Tampa Bay.

No. 6 seed if it falls to Arizona and New Orleans beats Tampa Bay.

The 49ers playoff opponent also remains up in the air. As the...

No. 1 or 2 seed, San Francisco, as the NFC West champ, would earn a first-round bye.

No. 5 or 6 seed, San Francisco would visit either the winner of NFC East and North divisions the first week of January. Both of these divisions will be decided in head-to-head matchups the final week of December: Philadelphia at Dallas in the East, and Green Bay at Chicago in the North.

NFL.com clarifies the entire postseason picture here. In the meantime, back to Week 16 action...

St. Louis Rams

Decision: 23-13 victory over the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Offense: Running back Zac Stacy continued to ascend, running for 104 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries.

Defense: Defensive end Robert Quinn recorded three more sacks for a Rams franchise record and an NFL-high of 18 this season.

Stock down: Left tackle Jake Long tore two ligamets in his knee on the first series and will miss Week 17.

Stat: Stacy sits 42 yards shy of the third 1,000-yard season ever by a Rams first-year rusher.

Quote: "When you take into the consideration the history of this organization and the defensive linemen, the pass rushers, the 'Fearsome Foursome,' all of that stuff, to set the single-season sack record is pretty impressive," coach Jeff Fisher told StLouisRams.com.

Ahead: St. Louis visits Seattle in Week 17.



Arizona Cardinals

Decision: 17-10 victory over the host Seahawks.

Offense: Arizona overcame a career high-tying worst four intercepions from quarterback Carson Palmer, who was at his best for a 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd with 2:13 showing on the game clock.

Defense: Linebacker Karlos Dansby's interception off the arm of (and ground around?) Seattle wideout Doug Baldwin with 1:56 left sealed his team's fate.

Stock up: His stock was never down, but pass-rusher Calais Campbell's two sacks of Russell Wilson proved to set a tone in the backfield.

Stat: The Cardinals had lost their last road game in Seattle, 58-0 in 2012, and hadn't won there since 2009.

Quote: "I just ran to the ball," Dansby told AZCardinals.com. "And magic happened."

Ahead: Arizona hosts San Francisco in Week 17.

Playoffs: If the Saints (10-5) beat the Buccaneers on Sunday, the Cardinals could win and still not make the postseason; they'd become the second 11-5 team since 2002 to miss out on January football.



Seattle Seahawks

Decision: 17-10 defeat to the visiting Cardinals.

Offense: The unit went three-and-out seven times, as neither Wilson (11-of-27 passing for 108 yards) nor running back Marshawn Lynch (18 carries for 71 yards) established a rhythm.

Defense: Cornerback Richard Sherman snared two of four interceptions and held Floyd and Arizona stud Larry Fitzgerald to four catches combined.

Stock down: Kicker Steven Hauschka missed a 24-yard, second-quarter field goal to snap his streak of 22 straight makes, and he flubbed a fourth-quarter point-after before a questionable penalty gave him a second chance at it.

Stat: The loss snapped Seattle's 14-game winning streak at home; Wilson had never lost at CenturyLink Field.

Quote: "Everything is in front of us; everything is still in front of us," defensive end Red Bryant told Seahawks.com "That’s what’s so great about adversity. It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond. It’s going to be tough and we’ll move forward, getting ready for St. Louis."

Ahead: Seattle hosts St. Louis in Week 17.

Playoffs: The Seahawks can still clinch the division title, a first-round bye and home-field advantage by beating the Rams.


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