Other then being able to play at home, by securing the No. 2 seed in the NFC, San Francisco gave themselves an extra week to rest up before their first playoff game. The time off is just as important as home field advantage as the 49ers are nursing several injuries and will hope that the extra week will be enough to get back Justin Smith in time. Even if Smith is able to tough it out, the team needs to make sure that the best thing for both Smith and the team is for him to play.
David Akers wrapped up a regular season that he would like to forget. Unfortunately, with the playoffs around the corner and a team that needs contributions from all phases, the team can’t forget. The result is that with time to prepare for their eventual playoff game, San Francisco is working out kickers to make sure that specials teams is not again the downfall of this team in the postseason.
In a 16 game, 17 week season, a football team goes through a lot up ups and downs. San Francisco’s regular season was no exception, luckily with more good then bad, and completed a remarkable journey finding themselves right where they were a year ago. The reason for the teams trip back to the playoffs is the man on the sideline, Jim Harbaugh.
After a disappointing game last week, San Francisco bounced back against Arizona, and just in time for the playoffs. After a slow start, both sides of the ball woke up in the second half and the team cruised to a relatively easy victory. The 49ers can feel very good as it enters the playoffs with a lot in their favor, as the final week went exactly as they could have hoped.
After 16 weeks of football, the 49ers and Cardinals enter the final game banged up. This is not a surprise, due to the nature of the sport, and injuries are something that all teams deal with. In this match-up it’s the 49ers that have more impact players listed as injured, and will be without the services of at least one key player. San Francisco will hope to avoid any more injuries in the season finale, as another injury could be disastrous for their playoff hopes.
The NFC West showdown between the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals, at least on paper, is a complete mismatch. The 49ers are the division leader, preparing for the playoffs, while the Cardinals sit in last place and are getting ready for next year.
After losing last week to the Seattle Seahawks, the San Francisco 49ers failed to lock up the NFC West. The first team goal of 2013 was to win the division, and they can still do so with a win in the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Both the offense and defense have struggled for the last game and a half, however it’s the defense that not only needs to play much better, but should also have no problem carrying San Francisco into the playoffs, with momentum at their back.
The one thing that no team can control is injuries. This year San Francisco has been healthy for the most part, but as the season winds down their luck has changed. If they hope to finish the season strong they will need to overcome a few key injuries, which will be difficult, but far from impossible.
Patrick Willis has become the face of the San Francisco 49er franchise. He is the middle linebacker on a team know for its defensive prowess. As his teammates have stepped up their level of play, he has been able to focus more on his position, and the result is a top tier defense. Willis has also made an impact off the field where he remains involved in the community and is someone who realizes that he is in a position to help those around him.
The rematch between the two best NFC West teams was not the nail biter that it was hyped to be. The game figured to be a low scoring, physical struggle, but instead saw Seattle continue their hot streak, as the Seahawks handed San Francisco by far their worst defeat of the season.
The match-up between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks will feature two teams in the same division that are almost identical in their formula for success. The last time they met it was a physical game that came down to the wire, and since then both teams have only gotten better. Sunday will determine if the Seahawks have caught up to the 49ers, or if they still are not quite on the level of the defending NFC West Champs.
Despite several successful starts under his belt, Colin Kaepernick has one more test in front of him. This week, his task does not get easier when the team will travel to Seattle to play in the unfriendly confines of Century Field. His starting job is not really in doubt, but another win will completely justify the switch from Alex Smith and give the team the right momentum heading into the season finale.