The Arizona Cardinals, despite recovering from a demoralizing loss, still hold a two game lead in the NFC West with five games to play. They remain the only team in the division with a winning record even though two other teams in the division are coming off of wins this past week. Here's a look at what our division mates are talking about and a quick look ahead to the playoff picture.
San Francisco 49ers: The Niners, coming off a big win over the Jaguars, have the Bay Area faithful feeling pretty good about themselves. Alex Smith is starting to look like an NFL QB, Michael Crabtree is starting to look like the guy they drafted and the offense is showing signs of becoming more than a three yards in a cloud of dust machine. Despite a 5-6 record though Mike Singletary's approval rating is a sparkingly 96% and Niners fans are campaining for more Pro Bowl votes. Much of San Fran's season will hinge on this week's matchup with the division rival Hawks. We all know that Seattle is a tough place to play but the Niners have opened up as one point favorites. The Niners also made a small roster move this week placing rookie safety Curtis Taylor on IR and moving Brit Miller, a fullback, up from their practice squad.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks fans, despite a win over St. Louis, have started to accept that this team is on it's way down and the only real question that remains is when it'll hit rock bottom and how long it'll stay down there. They've got tons of money tied up in Matt Hasselbeck but he's clearly in decline (part one and two) and it looks like they also might be looking for a new GM this offseason (part one and two). The only good news for the Hawks is that they're going to have two first round picks next year so in a way their future is tied to the fate of the Broncos this season.
St. Louis Rams: Considering they're 3-24 since the beginning of last season, the Rams know a little something about hitting rock bottom. They lost their tenth game of the season last week and they accumulated some more injuires in the process. Things are so bad in St. Loius that they're top rookie, second overall pick Jason Smith, had to be carted off the sidelines during the game (yea, I said sidelines). He's suffering from the aftereffects of a concussion and apparently the noise inside the dome caused him some problems. The Rams are dealing with a multitude of issues, injuries notwithstanding, and some fans are even starting to wonder about first year head coach Steve Spagnola.
Obviously we'll focus on the NFC and we'll start with who would be in if the season ended today. We'll also list each teams remaining schedules in parenthesis.
New Orleans Saints (11-0) - (@WAS, @ATL, DAL, TB, @CAR)
- Minnesota Vikings (10-1) - (@ARI, CIN, @CAR, @CHI, NYG)
Dallas Cowboys (8-3) - (@NYG, SD, @NO, @WAS, PHI)
- Arizona Cardinals (7-4) - (MIN, @SF, DET, STL, GB)
Wild Card Teams
Philadelphia Eagles (7-4) - (ATL, @NYG, SF, DEN, @DAL)
Green Bay Packers (7-4) - (BAL, @CHI, @PIT, SEA, @ARI)
In the Hunt
New York Giants (6-5) - (DAL, PHI, @WAS, CAR, @MIN)
Atlanta Falcons (6-5) - (PHI, NO, @NYJ, BUF, @TB)
- San Francisco 49ers (@SEA, ARI, @PHI, DET, @STL)