NFC West Round-Up; Seahawks Need to Bounce Back
The Seattle Seahawks continue to have the road blues after losing to Miami 24-21 as the clock expired Sunday on a Dan Carpenter field goal. The loss dropped the Seahawks to 1-5 on the road and 6-5 overall. While they were losing on South Beach, the San Francisco 49ers were winning in the Big Easy. The Niners collected a firm grasp of the NFC West with a 31-21 win over Drew Brees and the Saints in the Superdome.
While the Seahawks still have the Niners at home where they are 5-0 on the season, they are going to need a little help along the way besides making sure they beat the Niners in that contest. The other NFC West action last week featured the St. Louis Rams knocking off Arizona 31-17 behind Steven Jackson and two Janoris Jenkins’ intereception returns for touchdowns. The Cards have now lost seven straight after opening 4-0.
The Standings: San Francisco 8-2-1, Seattle 6-5, St. Louis 4-6-1, Arizona 4-7
The games this week
Seattle at Chicago (-3) – This is not exactly the best place for Seattle to turn around their problems on the road but they aren’t going to have much choice in the matter. With the 49ers playing a very winnable game against St. Louis, the Seahawks are in the inevitable ‘must-win’ situation. Chicago comes off a nice victory over Minnesota where Brandon Marshall caught 11 Jay Cutler passes.
If Seattle is going to have a chance in this one then they must get Marshawn Lynch going on the ground. The Dolphins were mostly successful against Lynch and I see no reason why the Bears can’t bottle him up either. The Seahawks cannot go into the Windy City expecting quarterback Russell Wilson to carry the team. It just isn’t going to happen regardless of the weather being good or bad. I like the Bears to cover this week behind a balanced offensive attack.
Arizona at New York Jets (-3) – If you wanted to know what two train wrecks looked like colliding into each other than I have offer this dandy. The NYJ couldn’t get out of their own way on Thanksgiving night in a dreadful loss to the Patriots and now Fireman Ed has given up his number one fan status!! The horror!!!! The only real horror is the ineptitude of these two teams. Arizona struggled behind rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley last week who gave up two pick-sixes. If the Cardinals’ running game can’t get going then they are going to be in a world of trouble against a Jets team that still feels it has a chance to make the playoffs.
There are actually more sub-plots to this game then you might think because both Ken Whisenhunt and Rex Ryan are on their respective hot seats. Besides losing seven straight, Whisenhunt has also struggled with quarterbacks which was something he supposed to excel in. Ryan is a defensive-minded guy whose team is getting gashed by all comers and he has his own QB issues of sorts too. I still expect the Jets to find a way to cover and grab a win here.
San Francisco (-6.5) at St. Louis – I’m sure you all recall the tie that these two played to not long ago in San Francisco where St. Louis managed the clock as if they had no concept of time whatsoever. The only way the Rams hang in there this week is if Steven Jackson keeps pounding the rock. He was over 100 yards again last week and has improved on a week-to-week basis. If he can find cracks, they’ll stay in it.
Colin Kaepernick gets the nod at QB again for the Niners. His play-making ability is just that much greater than Alex Smith’s and that’s why he’s the starter. Don’t look for the close game you see a few weeks back. I like the Niners to win big behind pressure on defense and balance on offense.