NFC West Midseason Reports

15 11 2008

Thanks to Sportable

Thanks to Sportable

Finally, the last of my divisional midseason reports. You know that saying “Last But Not Least”?. That doesn’t apply here. Everyone knows the Cardinals will win the division, the only questions are when will they clinch & how far will they go in the playoffs. Nonetheless, we have to give this division our due diligence like any other. Afterall, the NFL is all about parity.

Arizona Cardinals ( 6 – 3 )

While we know this team will win the division this is not the quintessential playoff team. There losses have come against teams having a shot at the playoffs and against teams with decent passing games. The secondary is young and while they do a good job of turning the ball over, they also have a tendency to get burned by good wide receivers. The running game is inconsistent. Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower need to do a better job so that Warner can continue to put up the MVP like numbers this season.

Rest of the Season: They’ll go 5 – 2 the rest of the way. I see them beating Seattle (twice), Philadelphia, Minnesota & St. Louis while losing to the Giants & Patriots. This will put them at 11 – 5 for the season.

Playoffs: They will win the division. I’m not sure if they’d be beat out the NFC South winner for the bye. If all my predictions hold true then they should have to travel to a cold weather stadium until the NFC Championship game. I don’t see them making it that far. A lack of competition tends to overrate teams and this would be a classic case. I expect a one and done scenario.

Seattle Seahawks ( 2 – 7 )

I feel bad for Mike Holmgren. A team decimated by injuries, especially with Hasselbeck, Branch and Burleson. The Seahawks have been playing with second stringers the entire way. This team really misses Steve Hutchinson who left for Minnesota last season. The running game can’t get off the ground because defense don’t respect the passing game. Do you blame them? The Seahawks haven’t passed for 300 yards this season and have only broken 200 yards once. The rushing game has surpassed the 100 yard mark since Week 4. I bet Holmgren wished he retired last year. A Jim Mora Jr. meltdown would have made this team more interesting to watch. Give them credit, they are the best 2 – 7 in the NFC West.

Rest of the Season:The Seahawks will win one more game this year. That will be against the Rams, they will get killed by everyone else. Of all the teams in the division, they have the toughest remaining schedule. Holmgren will end his career with a bad 3 – 13 season.

Playoffs:  Unfortunately, no.

San Francisco 49ers (2 – 7 )

The 49ers are a team on the rise, but only a few steps. Mike Singletary has this team playing harder and more physical. That’s probably due to Singletary being tougher and strong than the current Niner linebackers with the exception of Patrick Willis. Singletary has finally taken control of this hapless team, making an example of the overrated Vernon Davis.  They have serious issues all around. They don’t have an NFL caliber QB (Alex Smith included). The wide receivers are mediocre at best and the line is porous. Frank Gore is the lone bright spot on this team. Defensively, the line can’t get to anyone, the linebackers can’t read protections and the secondary has been one expensive waste of money. I am willing to bet that this once proud franchise (losing season every year since 2002) misses the shrewdness of Eddie DeBartolo.

Rest of the Season:With a lot of 1pm East Coast games this year, the split against St. Louis will give them their only win in the last 7 games. They too will go 3 – 13. Don’t go hiring Singletary, I’m not sure he is the solution to the problem.

St. Louis Rams ( 2 – 7 )

This is a franchise in dismay. How does the Greatest Show on Turf downgrade to Getting Beat By The Smurfs? Injuries are killing this team, especially to Steven Jackson. Other injuries on the O-line and defense don’t help either. But it’s not all about the injuries. The offensive line still can’t give Marc Bulger enough time to pass the ball and Torry Holt has become older quicker than you can say Anbesol. They do have some promising young receivers, especially in Donnie Avery. If the Rams want to rise to prominence, they’re going to have to learn how to play defense.

Rest of the Season: I also having them winning only one of their last seven games, that would be the home game against San Francisco. They will finish 3 – 13 as well.

Playoffs: Nope. I’d also say no to Jim Haslett’s return. The feeling has worn off.

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