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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers keeping their heads up after loss to Seahawks drops them in playoff seeding

Dec 5, 2021 at 8:39 PM--

Sunday's 30-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks caused the 49ers to fall back a notch in the current NFC playoff race, although they're not letting the loss dim their optimism for the future.

The 49ers dropped from the 6-seed to the 7-seed in the NFC, right behind the 6-6 Washington Football Team, who rose to the 6-seed with a win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. Here's a look at where the seeds currently stand:

  1. Arizona Cardinals (10-2)
  2. Green Bay Packers (9-3)
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (8-4)
  5. Los Angeles Rams (8-4)
  6. Washington Football Team (6-6) (remaining opponents, in no order: Eagles x2, Cowboys x2, at Giants)
  7. San Francisco 49ers (6-6) (remaining opponents: Texans, Falcons, at Rams, at Bengals, at Titans)
  8. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7) (remaining opponents: Washington x2, Cowboys, Giants)
  9. Minnesota Vikings (5-7) (remaining opponents: Steelers, Rams, at Packers, Bears x2)
  10. Carolina Panthers (5-7) (remaining opponents: Falcons, at Bills, at Saints, Buccaneers x2)
  11. Atlanta Falcons (5-7) (remaining opponents: Lions, Saints, at Panthers, at 49ers, at Bills)
  12. New Orleans Saints (5-7) (remaining opponents: Dolphins, Panthers, at Jets, at Buccaneers, at Falcons)

The 49ers have the good fortune of being among a crop of mediocre teams that may struggle to finish with a winning record. Perhaps they could even stumble their way to an 8-9 finish themselves and still wind up in the postseason. But they lost a chance to put themselves in a great spot with a win over the Seahawks and now need to make sure they take care of business at home while ideally winning at least one game on the road.

49ers defensive end Nick Bosa admitted the 49ers missed out on a golden opportunity against the Seahawks but says the team remains confident heading into the final stretch.

"Yeah, we definitely blew it," Bosa said Sunday. "But we knew it was going to be this type of game whenever we play them. But we have to do a much better job of not giving the game away. We're still in the mix and we're going to keep working really hard, and we still have a lot of confidence in our team."

The first of the 49ers' final three road games comes this week against the 7-5 Bengals, who are coming off a 41-22 loss to the Chargers. The Bengals, who currently hold the 7-seed in the AFC, are a tough team to pin down; over their past six games they've notched one-sided wins over the Ravens, Raiders and Steelers but also managed to lose to the lowly Jets while getting smoked by the Chargers and Browns. One would have to assume they still have the ability to send the 49ers home with a loss if the 49ers can't improve on their showing in Seattle.

"I just heard it puts us down into the seven seed," quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said after the loss to the Seahawks. "But I don't know. It's one of those losses that you can't let this stick with you for too long. Watch the film, be hard on ourselves like we always are—we're very critical of all the little things—but Cincinnati's going to come up real quick and we've got to be able to move on. We're going out there, so get your mind right for long travel. This train ain't stopping, so we gotta be ready for it."

Despite what happened against the Seahawks, one has to like the 49ers' chances, at this point, to do enough to reach the postseason based on what they showed in their three-game winning streak before traveling to Seattle. Given the state of the race for the final two Wild Card spots in the NFC, it's hard to get too down just yet about where the 49ers stand, especially considering the state of their competition.

"Just keep fighting," left tackle Trent Williams said Sunday. "We understand there's going to be adversity to overcome. There's going to be trials and tribulations. It's a long season. We've still got a lot of football left to play. My message is just to continue to fight. It's not over."

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