During the off-season heading into the 2014 NFL year, the 49ers made some big moves to help finally get them to win their six Superbowl. Forth year signal caller, Colin Kaepernick signed a large new contract, they acquired some talent at wide receiver to help him out too. One of the big losses however, was Linebacker Navarro Bowman. Without Bowman, the team has struggled on defense, and their woes continued in week 13.
Bowman has yet to play a single snap in the 2014 NFL season. The last time the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker played was in the NFC Championship game against the Seattle Seahawks. Bowman has been reactivated to the roster and hopes to play his first game; against those very same Seahawks.
During the NFC Championship game Bowman suffered a gruesome ACL injury on a goal line stand. Marshawn Lynch appeared to have fumbled the ball, in which Bowman made the recovery, but because the referee had already blown the whistle, and ruled Lynch down, the Seahawks kept the ball, and the play could not be challenged.
The San Francisco 49ers have not been the same without him. The 49ers have gone to the last three NFC Championships, making one Superbowl appearance. One of the staples of their success was a smash mouth defense lead, in large part, by Bowman. The 49ers have lost back to back games on three separate occasions already this season.
In week 13 the 49ers suffered what may have been the most shocking loss of the season, when they fell to the 1-11 Oakland Raiders. The loss gives them six on the year, almost eliminating all hope of making the post season. The 49ers are in one of the strongest divisions in the league, the NFC West. The Arizona Cardinals have a record of 10-3, and play the St. Louis Rams on Thursday Night Football. The Seahawks are now two games ahead of them, and hold the tiebreaker due to their 19-3 victory on Thanksgiving.
If the Cardinals win on Thursday night, the 49ers are eliminated from possibly winning the division. The battle for the two Wildcard spots will not be any easier. Bowman is activated, but he may not see any game time action. The team certainly could use the boost to their defense that Bowman would certainly give. However, if they have no chance at the division title, and with one more loss to the Seahawks, they may just let him heal, and be ready for the start of next season.
With a loss to the Seahawks, they will have just one division win all season, and in the ultra competitive NFC, a 9-7 team has no chance of making the post season with the wild card. The NFC South however, will be sending in a team with a losing record to represent their division. All four teams have losing records, and all four teams are still able to win it. With Tampa Bay, New Orleans, and Atlanta all losing in week 13, Carolina looked to be ready to make a run, until quarterback Cam Newton got into a car accident Tuesday morning.
Regardless of records, or trends and streaks, the 49ers and Seahawks will play each other extremely tough. In what is regarded as the biggest rivalry in the NFL today, it is similar to a college rivalry. The two teams do not like each other, and if one team can spoil the post season hopes for the other, they are going to pull out all the stops. The 49ers have yet to get a win in Seattle under Kaepernick’s lead and they look to put an end to that streak on Sunday. The Seahawks were able to end their streak of winless games in a 49ers stadium two weeks ago. With a Cardinals loss, and a Seahawks victory, the defending Superbowl Champions will be back in the driver’s seat to not only win the division, but at secure at least a bye week, and one home game in the post season. The Seahawks and their fans would love nothing more than to pile on to the woes of their 49ers, but send their biggest rival home before the post season even begins. Kickoff is at 1:25 at Century Link Field in Seattle.
Commentary by Andy Lapic
Photo by Philip Robertson –Flickr License
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