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NFC West Week 11 Preview

After a crazy week 10 in the NFC West, we will surely have a lot to look forward to in week 11, but the coming week in the division is surrounded with questions. The biggest of those is will 49ers quarterback Alex Smith be cleared to play against the Bears after leaving Sunday night’s game with a concussion? If not, Colin Kaepernick will get the start and put the Niners at a clear disadvantage against the Bears, who have one of the best defenses in the league. Here is a look ahead to that matchup and the two others involving NFC West teams in week 11.

Chicago Bears 7-2 at San Francisco 49ers 6-2-1

The Niners will still have a decent shot at home with Kaepernick, as they have the number one rush offense in the league and one of the best defenses. However, they are coming off a disappointing tie against division rival St. Louis, so we’ll have to see how they respond against a much tougher opponent this week.

The Bears’ imperfect offense was exposed last week and although they haven’t really beaten anyone with a strong record, a 7-2 record is something to be proud of. However, considering how much they struggled against Houston last week, the San Fran defense will present an even bigger challenge.

Expect a grind-it-out, low-scoring game between these two squads. Field position and turnovers may be the difference and although I think San Francisco has the slight edge, I like Chicago to cover +5 points on the road. I see this as the type of game that comes down to a field goal and may even go into overtime.

New York Jets 3-6 at St. Louis Rams 3-5-1

Will Tebow finally get his shot in NY?

After getting off to a decent start, St. Louis has struggled in recent weeks, but last week’s tie against San Francisco has to be considered a win for the underdog Rams. This week, they turn their attention to the Jets, who is a team in complete disarray, having lost their last three games.

The Jets are another team with issues at the quarterback position, as starter Mark Sanchez currently has one of the lowest quarterback ratings in the league. The other option, of course, is Tim Tebow, who although is often criticized for his natural skill for the position, did lead the Broncos to a playoff victory last season. Head coach Rex Ryan continues to stand by his man, in Sanchez, but the numbers don’t lie and if this losing streak continues any longer, the Jets’ playoff hopes will be dead.

Both teams are in desperate need of a win but I like the Rams at home (where they are 3-2). The Jets are in shambles and the Rams showed they still have some fight in them last week in their tie with the Niners. Take the Rams to cover -3 this week.

Arizona Cardinals 4-5 at Atlanta Falcons 8-1

Look for the Cards to fight hard and come within one score of the Falcons

Like many teams in the West this season, the Cardinals started hot (4-0), but then have quickly evaporated from contention by losing five straight games. The Cardinals need a win this week more than ever, and unfortunately they are up against the best team in the NFC.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who has the clear edge here, but the Falcons do have a large spread to cover at 10 points. We saw a similarly lopsided matchup this last Monday with the Steelers up against the Chiefs and it took an overtime field goal for the Steelers to pull out the win. While I don’t expect things to be that close, but I do think the Cards can cover +10. Arizona will bring in the 2nd ranked pass defense that should limit Atlanta’s scoring production and force the game to be played on the ground, which should result in a lower-scoring and more competitive ballgame.



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