49ers Are Finally Getting Healthy for Crucial Playoff Push
Jose Luis Sanchez III
The entirety of the 2019 regular season has been plagued with a plethora of injuries for the San Francisco 49ers. Almost every game the 49ers have had a key player suffer an injury whether it was minor or severe. However, the 49ers are finally getting healthy for their crucial playoff push.
Today's practice for the red and gold had only three players sit out. Those players were Dante Pettis (knee), Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) and Julian Taylor (elbow). Everyone else who has been listed with injuries the last few weeks (Dee Ford, Matt Breida, Joe Staley) was good to go for practice. It is a fantastic sign that the 49ers are nearly at full capacity with the return of their injured key players.
Even Richard Sherman was a participant after suffering a sprained knee in the loss to Baltimore. Sherman was noted as walking fine, which Kyle Shanahan said they did "some Mr. Miyagi stuff on him." When asked about the optimism regarding the health of these players, Kyle Shanahan answered: “Yeah, we’ve got a number of guys back. They look good out there today, they are still working through it. It’s been a while for some of them, but hopefully we can keep that going week by week here towards the end.”
Being that it is the final four-game stretch of the season, the 49ers will need to buckle down for the tough campaign ahead. The margin for error is extremely slim with playoff seeding on the line.
They cannot afford any slip up with the Seattle Seahawks now in the lead for the division and a first-round bye in the playoffs. That is why it is crucial that the 49ers have all hands on deck for the playoff push that starts this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints at the SuperDome. This matchup is undoubtedly a must win game for the 49ers. A loss to the Saints will put the 49ers in a hole that will see them out of any chance for a first-round bye.
San Francisco is currently sitting as the No. 5 seed in the Wild Card position. While being in the playoffs is an accomplishment, a Wild Card spot given the season the 49ers have had would been a massive underachievement. It is absolutely pivotal that they make it as a top two seed for a bye week. Not only would the week off allow their players a chance to fully heal, but having to travel for three straight games will put a heavy strain on this team. A strain that would be insanely difficult to overcome with hopes of a Super Bowl appearance.
Entering week 14, the 49ers still have full control of their destiny. If they can win out, then they will be assured of a first-round bye with at least a No. 2 seed berth. A loss to the Ravens may have hindered this team's journey, but the reality is that a loss to an AFC team isn't severe. That is why the margin for error the rest of the way is slim. The 49ers need to play their best ball, especially so they can avoid a high stakes game in week 17 for the NFC west against the Seahawks.
Every game from here on out will carry immense pressure on the San Francisco 49ers. With the return of their key injured players, they are in a significantly stronger position to make their dream of a first-round bye a reality.