Last week the Arizona Cardinals came from behind to pull off a good comeback win against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Seattle Seahawks somehow found a way to escape Carolina on the winning end against the Panthers. The St Louis Rams seemed to implode in Kansas City against the Chiefs, while the San Francisco 49ers were relaxing on the week eight bye. It was an interesting week for the NFC West and week nine is looking very promising with two teams being favored by ten points or more, while the third team may be facing a backup QB. So without any more wasted time, let’s get right into the NFC West Week 9 Game Previews:
Arizona Cardinals (6-1) at Dallas Cowboys (6-2) Unknown
Last week was probably the most impressive win of the year for the Cardinals. They face a tough team that was 5-1 and came from behind late in the fourth quarter with a clutch 75 yard TD pass from Carson Palmer to Josh Brown with 1:21 left to defeat the Eagles 24-20. Not bad considering I said defense would be better than expected and I also predicted a four point Cardinals win. Now that the Cards got that big win, they now must face the other top team in the NFC East and they travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys.
The question of the week will be if Dallas Cowboys starting QB Tony Romo will be able to suit up this week. He suffered what the Cowboys are calling a “deep bruise” to his back. It took him out of the last game for a drive, but he returned to finish the game, clearly in pain. Owner Jerry Jones said it’s a question of pain tolerance as to if Romo plays. Romo has proven to be 1 of the toughest players in the league, so I expect him to try very hard to play, if not Brandon Weeden will get the start. Either way, I think Arizona will see a bunch of Demarco Murray.
Prediction: Cardinals 31, Cowboys 27
Seattle Seahawks (4-3) vs Oakland Raiders (0-7) +15
In what was practically a replay of the season opening game from the start of the 2013 game, in which Seattle won 12-7, the Seahawks got a late TD from QB Russell Willson to TE Luke Wilson with beat the Carolina Panthers in Carolina, 13-9. The win broke the 2-game losing streak for Seattle and pulled them into a tie with the San Francisco 49ers for second place in the division. After playing three of the last four games on the road, the Seahawks now have three of the next four games in the friendly home confines of Century Link Field, in Seattle, Washington.
The Seahawks opponent will be the only remaining winless team in the NFL, the Oakland Raiders. The Seahawks are a huge favorite in this one and they should be. They rarely lose at home and the Raiders have a rookie QB, a bad defense, and are arguably one of the worst ran organizations in the league. Seattle should be able to run the ball at will against the Raiders 26th ranked rush defense and since the Raiders have the worst rushing attack in the league, it will play right into a couple INTs for the “Legion of Boom”.
Prediction: Seahawks 34, Raiders 10
San Francisco 49ers (4-3) vs St Louis Rams (2-5) +10
The 49ers got a chance to rest last week, which hopefully will bring a healthier Vernon Davis back. The back injury has slowed Davis, which has slowed the 49ers offense. The Rams had another tough week against another good defense. The most devastating part was losing stud LT Jake Long and emerging WR Brian Quick for the entire season. Kenny Britt should now be forced into the #1 WR spot while there will be some shifting on the offensive line, which is never a good thing, even for a good team, much less an already struggling team.
After having their bye, there isn’t much more of a softer spot to land in for the 49ers than a home game against a Rams team that just lost two essential parts of their team to injury. Jared Cook will have to be even more of a threat on an offense that was already having problems moving the ball. The Rams have to eventually stop the running back by committee approach and stick with Tre Mason. He is clearly the most talented guy in their backfield. Unfortunately for them, this week, it shouldn’t matter much.
Prediction: 49ers 37, Rams 17
Everyone in the NFC West has now had their bye week, so the rest of the season is just a nine week marathon. There’s s a possibility that a division that most thought could get three teams in the playoffs may only get one because of them beating up on each other. Seattle and San Francisco are still yet to go head to head in the first of their two games. A split is likely and may take both of them out with teams like Detroit, Green Bay, Philadelphia, and Dallas off to hot starts. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on as we continue on throughout the season. At least this week, on paper, for the NFC West, it’s business as usual.
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