NFC West Breakdown: Week 11


(Scott Allen writes for Raising Zona, which is FSB’s Arizona Cardinals blog. Representing the rest of the NFC West are 12th Man Rising, Niner Noise. and Ramblin’ Fan.)

The NFC West is possibly one week away from being won by the Arizona Cardinals.  The Cardinals need to defeat the defending champion New York Giants and San Francisco needs to lose in Dallas.  First thing is first though.  Arizona put to rest a four game losing streak in Seattle and San Francisco gave interim coach Mike Singletary his first victory by defeating St. Louis.  This division hasn’t been the flashiest in the NFL, however it certainly has been more entertaining than the saga going on in Dallas.  Other than the AFC South, this could be the only other division calling it a season next week.

Arizona Cardinals (7-3):

Looking Back:

Arizona went to the Pacific Northwest and took care of business, defeating Seattle 26-20.  It was their first win in Seattle since 2002 and puts them at 4-0 in the division and one week from possibly putting a wrap on it.  Kurt Warner threw for 395 yards on 32-44 passing and one touchdown.  The Cardinals found a little more balance this week, rushing for 76 yards.  It is still nothing to write home about, however with the use of J.J. Arrington, who has ridden the bench most of the year, the run game did enough to keep the clock moving when it needed to move.

Looking Forward:

The Cards welcome the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants to town next week.  That game may be the toughest they have all season and will have to be darn near perfect to pull off the victory.  They will need to eliminate turnovers, mental mistakes, and poor tackling – the types of things that will for sure allow the Giants to leave University of Phoenix victorious.  The Giants are too good to allow you to overcome those types of mistakes and still beat them.

St. Louis Rams (2-8):

Looking Back:

Wipe your feet at the door.  Welcome to the league’s new doormat.  St. Louis after spending two weeks in the winners circle, have now reverted back to their old ways and are in the running for the NFL’s worst team by losing to the San Francisco 49ers quite handily 35-16.  This game was over by halftime, going into the locker room down 35-3.  Heading into the game with the second fewest touchdowns with 12, the Rams figured to possibly get a few against a team that has showed it will allow you to score at will at times.  However, too much Frank Gore and unfortunately not enough star power for the Rams did them in again and has them in danger of finishing last in the division.

Looking Forward:

The Rams welcome the Chicago Bears to the Edward Jones Dome next Sunday.  They might actually have some fans without bags over their heads in the stands next week.  Fewer fans will show up as empty seats.  Of course that would only be because of the Bears fans who decide to take the 5 hour trip down I-55 to take in the contest.  Even at 5-5 and coming off a horrible game at Lambeau Field on Sunday, the BEars should be ready to go and take in an extra bye week.

San Francisco 49ers (3-7):

Looking Back:

The 49ers had 35 points by halftime and didn’t need a single point in the second half to still beat the Rams 35-16 on Sunday.  The 49ers went back to using Frank Gore the way he needs to be used.  Granted it was the Rams that played them on Sunday, they still looked like a team that could have defeated any team on any given Sunday, provided the play calling is correct and the team avoids making the mental mistakes like they did on Monday night in Glendale.

Looking Forward:

Off to Dallas.  Dallas is coming off a huge victory on the road against the Washington Redskins 14-10 to stay in the wild card race.  One may expect the Cowboys to come in this game and their game the following Sunday against Seattle to go 8-4.  That may have happened had they not lost 3 in a row, including losses to Arizona and St. Louis.  However, going through what they’ve gone through over the past month, Dallas will be strong and a tough team for the 49ers to defeat in Dallas next week.  San Francisco, much like the Cards at home against the Giants, will need to be close to perfect to pull off an upset of the Cowboys in big D.

Seattle Seahawks (2-8):

Looking Back:

Matt Hasselbeck returned to the lineup on Sunday and before the game proclaimed he had watched the Cardinals every play on tape over the previous three weeks and still felt they had a chance to defeat the Cardinals and remain in the race for the division.  I imagine he still doesn’t feel the same way after losing 26-20 at home to the Cardinals.  In fact he did say after the game “We can do the math, we’re not idiots.”  That math would be having the Arizona Cardinals eventually supplanting them as divisional champs, a distinction they’ve held since 2003.

Looking Forward:

Seattle pretty much just has pride to play for now.  The Washington Redskins come to town riding a two game losing streak.  Jim Zorn returns to his old stomping grounds, where he played as quarterback of the Seahawks.  The Skins are still fighting for a playoff spot and still posses a tough defense, so Seattle is destined to have their hands full.

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