NFC West Week 14 Preview
After dominating the division for most of the season, the 49ers have let the Seahawks and Rams creep a little bit closer after losing last week. The Seahawks picked up a big road win against the Bears, improving to 7-5 on the season and although the Rams won’t win the West, they stayed alive in the wild card chase with their win over San Fran, improving to 5-6-1. Can the Niners get back on track with a win this week, or will the Hawks and Rams continue to gain ground in the wild West? Here are the match-ups in the NFC West this week.
St. Louis Rams 5-6-1 at Buffalo Bills 5-7
Both of the teams in this match-up got off to rough starts, but have started to pick things up lately. The Rams are winners of two straight, but play considerably worse on the road than at home. Meanwhile, the Bills have notched victories in two of their last three, but have yet to win a game against a team that has a current record better than 5-7; the Rams would be their first.
The Bills have are a run heavy offense, but struggle defending the run, where St. Louis is strongest. The Rams also have a balanced offense and defense that defends both phases of the game (run and pass) equally well. Even on the road, this match-up favors the Rams in almost every way, so I have to take St. Louis to cover +3 here and win outright against the Bills this weekend.
Miami Dolphins 5-7 at San Francisco 49ers 8-3-1
Despite losing in overtime last week, the 49ers continued to display their defensive might, holding the Rams to 16 points in five periods. The Dolphins are also coming off a loss, to division rival New England and are in must-win mode now if they want a shot at an AFC wild card spot.
There’s no question that the league’s best defense should limit the Dolphins offense in this weekend’s battle, but there is still a question at quarterback for the Niners. Colin Kaepernick should get the start again this week, but coming off a loss, it’s not certain. Either way, the fact that San Fran doesn’t have 100% confidence in either of its QBs has to hurt them a bit.
The Niners haven’t produced much offensively lately, but they should still have enough to defeat Miami at home. Take the Phins to cover +10 points in a close loss.
Arizona Cardinals 4-8 at Seattle Seahawks 7-5
Since starting 4-0, the Cardinals have fallen off the face of the earth and are now 4-8. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have remained steady on defense all season and have seen their offense slowly improve as rookie quaterback Russell Wilson has continued to mature as an NFL starter. Considering that the Seahawks are also at home this week, where they are undefeated this season, the mountain is just too high for Arizona to overcome. However, Seattle is not the type of team to blow opponents out of the water. Their offense, although effective, is not particularly explosive and the Cardinals are at least somewhat competent on the defensive side of the ball, so I like Arizona to cover +11 points in a losing effort this week.