Alex Smith against the Seahawks (AP photo)

Niners sit back, stay alive in NFC West

On Thursday, the 49ers clinched their seventh losing season in the past eight years.

Sunday, they discovered they could still clinch a division title.

Thanks to Kansas City’s 27-13 win at St. Louis today, the Niners (5-9) officially maintained a pulse in their attempt to win the NFC West and become the NFL’s first 7-9 team to make the playoffs. They got more assistance this afternoon when the Falcons polished off the Seahawks, 34-18.


The losses by the NFC West co-leaders made the Niners’ road to a possible division crown relatively straightforward.

San Francisco will need to win its final two games — at St. Louis (6-8) on
Dec. 26 and against the visiting Cardinals (4-10) on Jan. 2. In
addition, Seattle (6-8) must lose one of its remaining two games: at
Tampa Bay (8-6) next week or against visiting St. Louis in its
regular-season finale.

In the event of ties, the Niners, who would have a 5-1 record against division opponents, would win any tiebreakers.

After losses by the Rams, Seahawks and Cardinals today, the NFC West has a
record of 21-35 this season and its four teams have been outscored by a
combined 300 points. Arizona lost to the Panthers, 19-12, today.
Carolina (2-12), which beat the 49ers in October, is 2-2 against the NFC
West this season and 0-10 against the rest of the NFL.

The Niners have a record of 0-7 against teams with a winning record this
season and are coming off a 34-7 loss at San Diego on Thursday night.

“This team has had its highs and lows,” coach Mike Singletary said after the
loss to the Chargers. “But if we are fortunate enough to go to the
playoffs, I believe we deserve to go.”

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