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I should probably preface this segment by noting that if the Rams win their game Sunday, they'll be tied for the lead in the division with either the 49ers or the Seahawks. But the Rams play the Green Bay Packers and then the New England Patriots, and I'll be shocked if they have a record better than .500 in two weeks' time.
Therefore, assuming St. Louis drops out of the race (no offense, Rams fans, but the offense is struggling, and I fail to see more than three or four more wins for them), the winner of the contest on Thursday night will take control of the division.
Sure, it's just a one-game lead, but it's also a head-to-head win. And football doesn't allow for teams to make up ground like baseball does. With just nine games left after this one, a one-game lead is bigger than it sounds.
Of course, San Francisco will make a trip to Seattle in December. The NFC West picture could be clear as day by then or it could be murkier than a Louisiana swamp. But I think this game will set the tone for the rest of the season.
A lead in the division after two weeks means very little, but a lead after seven weeks is a different story. If the 49ers can come up with a victory, they may clamp down on first place like they did last season and not look back.
But the Seahawks are well aware of what the Giants were able to do in the Bay Area this past Sunday. Can they come up with a similar effort?