The 49ers’ victory over the Los Angeles Rams makes things a lot more interesting for the final 10 games of the regular season.
The 49ers are now 3-3. Ten teams in the NFC have three or fewer losses. Seven teams from each conference make the playoffs.
However, one of those NFC teams currently with four or more losses will advance and host a game as the champion of the East.
The NFL trade deadline is approaching – on Nov. 3, of all days – and general manager John Lynch has to decide how to handle that important date on the NFL calendar.
Here is this week’s edition of 49ers Overreactions:
The 49ers, like all NFL teams, will be looking to cut costs after this season as the salary cap will to drop for the first time.
Making a blockbuster trade for a high-priced veteran is not the wise move.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said on Monday the 49ers are “not in the mood” to part ways with their draft picks.
“We had to do that last year to make a number of key moves that I think helped us, but we don't want another draft to where we don't have too many picks,” he said.
J.J. Watt is a fantastic player, of course. But he is 31 years old and has missed large portions of three of the past four seasons due to injuries.
The 49ers are snuggling up against the salary cap. Watt would cost them more than $900,000 for every week he is on the roster this season. Then, he would be on the books for $17.5 million next year.
The 49ers will have to do a lot of roster reshuffling at the end of this season. They have a number of free agents, as well as several costly veteran players whom the club cannot afford to bring back in 2021 at their scheduled salaries.
The 49ers need those draft picks. They have to be able to supplement their roster with young players who are locked into lower-cost contracts for four seasons.
Making a short-sighted trade is not the best plan for this organization.
Running back Raheem Mostert is standing on second base. The guy is always in scoring position when he is on the field.
Mostert is a dynamic, big-play threat. But the 49ers will not have him for at least the next three games – and, perhaps, a bit longer. He sustained a high ankle sprain late in the first half of the 49ers’ 24-16 victory over the Rams on Sunday.
Mostert is the 49ers’ leading rusher and averages 5.9 yards a carry. He is much-improved as a route-runner out of the backfield, too. He is a really good player who brings an element of game-breaking ability to the 49ers’ offense that they do not get from anyone else.
That said, the 49ers should be OK for the short term without him.
They have built outstanding depth at running back with Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson and JaMycal Hasty. Tevin Coleman (knee) is expected to be activated off injured reserve as early as next week.
Also, Shanahan likes to use wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk as elements of the team’s running game, too.
Mostert is important to the offense. They are a better team without him. But the 49ers can compensate for his loss with a mixture of the players already in the building.
Overreaction? Yes and no.
The 49ers are still in the playoff hunt.
If they consistently play like they did against the Rams, they will make it. If they trend more toward how they looked against the Miami Dolphins, they will not.
The 49ers showed on Sunday night they still have enough good players to make a run at the postseason. This year, perhaps more than any other, all it takes is getting into the playoffs. After that, anything can happen.
But if the 49ers' season does not continue into January, there is little question injuries will be the main factor. Nick Bosa’s season came to an end early in Week 2. Dee Ford and Weston Richburg might not get on the field the rest of the season. Richard Sherman’s status remains unclear.
In all, 12 players are on injured reserve with Mostert and center Ben Garland heading there later this week. And three players are on physically unable to perform. The will not be back until at earliest the third month of the season.
Cris Collinsworth of NBC Sports summed it up over the weekend:
“The system is a great system,” he said. “Defensively, they have a lot of things figured out. But when you don’t have players, I don’t care who your coaches are. I don’t care what the design is, if you don’t have the players, it ain’t working.”