Sunday Proved Disappointing for NFC West Teams

It was a wild and ultimately disappointing day in the NFC West as both the Rams and the Cardinals lost winnable games. In what was perhaps the worst loss of any team this season, the Arizona Cardinals lost 23-19 to the Atlanta Falcons on a day when Matt Ryan threw five interceptions and no touchdowns.

“You can’t worry about it,” said Ryan, who had never thrown more than three picks in a game. “Part of playing this position is knowing there are going to be times when you make mistakes, when you fall flat on your face. You’ve got to get up and keep playing, keep throwing it. In those kind of situations, I’m just worried about the next play.”

The Cardinals were ten point underdogs in this game, and easily covered the spread. However, that is small consolation for a team that got six turnovers and still somehow lost the game. However, the Cardinals’ management of the game was truly horrendous: they pulled John Skelton when they were up 13-3 in favor of third-string rookie Ryan Lindley. I understand that the Cardinals probably aren’t going to make a push to the playoffs, but to pull a starter when you’re up ten points on a vastly superior team? That was the height of madness, and the Cardinals paid for it with one of the worst losses of the year.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein said. “If you would have told us yesterday we’d get the ball four or five times on their side of the 50, I’d have said, `Yeah, we’re going to beat them, and beat them by a large margin.”

New York Jets Beat  St. Louis Rams 27-13

The Rams were favored by a field goal in this game and, alas, they lost too. However, they have an excuse: the Jets  didn’t turn the ball over once. Despite all of the turmoil that seems to be perpetually engulfing the franchise, the Jets played mistake-free football to eke out a win over the scrappy Rams.

“We knew they were going to come out and give us their best shot and with some fight because of all the stuff that has been going on over there,” Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. “Teams in the NFL just don’t fold.”

The Rams are now 3-6, and, besides the rash of injuries they have experienced this season, have a serious dearth of talent at most positions. It will be several more years before they are competitive in the division.

Preview: Chicago Bears (+7) at San Francisco 49ers, Monday Night

This would have been on the marquee matchups in the league just last week, until both Alex Smith and Jay Cutler sustained concussions last weekend. Smith has been cleared to play, but it looks like Cutler is out. His backup, Jason Campbell, will step in against this ferocious San Francisco defense.

“He’s comfortable in the pocket, comfortable calling the plays,” center Roberto Garza said. “Look at his track record. That speaks for itself. There’s a reason why he’s here, and there’s a reason why he’s in the situation he’s in. He probably should be starting somewhere. He’s that type of player. Unfortunately, we’re in this situation, but he’s gonna step in there.”

I think Campbell is a competent quarterback, but he doesn’t have the juice necessary to take down this D. But I still like the Bears at +7. It’s not like their defense all sustained concussions, too, and that unit was the strength of this team in the first place. The Bears only give up around 300 yards a game, and have gotten 20 turnovers so far this year. I love them to stymie the 49ers here and keep it within a field goal score at the end. Take the Bears at +7 here.

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