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We take a look at the status of the NFC West after five weeks played in the 2012 regular season.
The NFC West is no longer to be considered a doormat division.
Every team in the division is drastically improved from where they were just one year ago, with each team having an above .500 record. Each club plays outstanding defense and while none of them feature one of the league's premiere quarterbacks, they find a way to put points on the board and win games.
The Seattle Seahawks managed to do that this weekend, holding Cam Newton and company to no touchdowns scored. Their leading rusher was Newton, who had just 42 yards on the day. With all of the impressive running backs the Panthers have in their stable, it becomes even more noticeably impressive as to how well the Seahawks did in containing them. The bright side is, if Russell Wilson doesn't pan out, they have Matt Flynn waiting in the wings. This team is definitely trending upwards.
As for the San Francisco 49ers, it is same old, same old. They absolutely destroyed the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, holding them to just three points. That is the second consecutive game they have held an opponent to a single field goal. They run the ball with plenty of talent behind a grizzly offensive line and have some of the best players in the league on their defense. This will be a team that will not only make the playoffs, but will be a tough out once they get there.
As for the Cardinals, they are the only team that looks a bit shaky after week five. The Rams held their offense to practically nothing and got pressure on Kevin Kolb throughout the game. Arizona's defense, however, looked vulnerable for the second consecutive week against a young quarterback. Still, they are 4-1 and there is plenty of young talent to be excited about not only for this season, but for many season to come on both sides of the ball.
The same can be said for St. Louis. The cornerback position finally appears to be shored up with the additions of Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan. The defensive line looks to be on the rise and they have some special players all over the field. By adding some more offensive line talent through the draft and maybe a safety, watch for the Rams to be contending for years to come.