The San Francisco 49ers missed out on an opportunity to wrap up their first NFC West title in nine years last week, but they should have a better chance to celebrate Sunday.
The 49ers welcome the last-place St. Louis Rams to Candlestick Park as they try to become one of the league's first teams to clinch a playoff berth.
San Francisco (9-2) went into Week 12 needing a win at Baltimore on Thanksgiving and a Seattle loss on Sunday to clinch the NFC West with nearly a third of the season still to play. The Seahawks lost 23-17 to Washington, but all that did was help the 49ers maintain their five-game division lead after falling 16-6 to the Ravens.
That defeat also ended an eight-game win streak, the team's longest since an 11-game run in 1997. Alex Smith was sacked a franchise record-tying nine times as the 49ers finished with a season low for points and yards (170).
"The men put a lot into it. They were disappointed," coach Jim Harbaugh said. "They'll bo...