Last week, the NFC West showed flashes of how dominant they can be. The Arizona Cardinals continued to roll by beating up the St Louis Rams late 31 -14. The Seattle Seahawks are getting used to life without Percy Harvin as they rammed it down the throats of the New York Giants 38-17. And the San Francisco 49ers stole one on the road, in a place that normally doesn’t happen, in New Orleans against the Saints 27-24 in overtime. Now as we go in to week 11, let’s get right to the NFC West Week 11 Game Previews:
Arizona Cardinals (8-1) vs Detroit Lions (7-2) +2
Obviously the biggest story concerning the Cardinals this week is surrounding their starting QB situation. Carson Palmer tore his ACL and is done for the year. He will now be replaced by Drew Stanton. Earlier this year Stanton filled in for Palmer and did a solid job. The Cardinals will now probably lean on Andre Ellington more, but Coach Bruce Arians said this past week that he still feels they can win a Superbowl with Drew Stanton. Coach Arians has the mentality that it doesn’t matter who is under center. He’s going to run his normal offense.
Even though the Cardinals are at home this week, I think they face a team that is pretty close to a mirror image of them, the Detroit Lions. With a returning Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, the Lions pulled off a late win last week against the Miami Dolphins. Both teams have a lot of offensive weapons and both teams have played very good defense all year. My difference in this game is that Lions QB Matthew Stafford has more experience that Stanton, but either way, I expect this to be a one score game late. Stafford has proven to be extremely good in late game situations.
Prediction: Cardinals 16, Lions 20
Seattle Seahawks (6-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) -2
The Seahawks ran for a ridiculous 350 rushing yards. That total is unheard of in modern day football. Marshawn Lynch led the way with 140 yards and 4 TDs. It was just a simple calculation to see this coming. The Seahawks beast weapon is running the ball and the Giants are one of the worst defenses in the league against the run. This week will not be the same result. Coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs play host this week and as we all know, the Seahawks are a different team on the road.
This is one of those games where I feel the Seahawks will miss the game-breaking ability of Percy Harvin. The Chiefs have the #2 pass defense in the league, yet Harvin carved them up a couple weeks against as a New York Jet when he has 11 catches for 129 yards. This will be a close game because of both of their elite defenses, but I feel the Chiefs have a little bit more fire power and the ability to break a long one with their star RB Jamaal Charles.
Prediction: Seahawks 17, Chiefs 20
San Francisco 49ers (5-4) at New York Giants (3-6) +4
Perrish Cox may have saved the 49ers season last week with his LeBron James-like flop as the clock ran out in regulation. On that last play, Drew Brees threw a Hail Mary that was caught by all-world TE Jimmy Graham. However, the refs threw a flag for pass interference, the game went to overtime, and the 49ers caused a Drew Brees fumble that led to a Phil Dawson game winner. Now don’t get me wrong, Graham did slightly push Cox, but the acting on that play definitely drew the flag.
This week the 49ers fly cross country to NY to face the Giants. The weather is supposed to drop 30 degrees from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday night. That will be the setting in MetLife Stadium. Conventional thinking says if the 49ers run the ball and do what Seattle did last week, they win this easily, but this is the NFL, is anything ever done with conventional thinking? The 49ers have turned into a heavy passing team for some reason. If they do that Sunday, I still think they’ll win, but it will be much closer than it should be.
Prediction: 49ers 20, Giants 17
St Louis Rams (3-6) at Denver Broncos (7-2) -10
This week I went on a little “Twitter Rant” on the Ram’s decision to bench Austin Davis for the 34 year old Shaun Hill. To me, it makes zero sense. The last five games Davis faced the 49ers twice, the Seahawks, Chiefs, and Cardinals. Those are five of the top defenses in the league. He actually won two of those games. During this stretch, he lost his 4-time pro bowler LT Jake Long and his #1 WR Brian Quick. So why would he be blamed and benched for a journeyman QB when they are practically eliminated from making the playoffs?
This game will be the epitome of what happens when good teams stay good and bad teams stay bad. While the Rams make decisions like what I said above, the Broncos went out a couple years ago and took a chance on an aging QB that has some neck issues. What was his name again? Oh, that’s right, Peyton Manning. I don’t expect this game to be close for even a quarter and the Broncos should easily move to 8-2 and put pressure on the Chiefs to keep up with them in their chase of the AFC West division crown.
Prediction: Rams 10, Broncos 41
While last week was a great week for the NFC West, injuries and in my opinion, a bad decision will make this week extremely hard. There is a legitimate chance that all four teams may lose. It would put all of them, aside from the Cardinals, right in the middle of the hot seat to make the playoffs. With teams like Green Bay and Dallas still playing well, the NFC West has to take advantage of their out of division games. This week will tell you a lot, so the best thing to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the games of Week 11.
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