At the halfway point in the season, the Arizona Cardinals hold a commanding lead in the NFC West. They've got a three game lead over every team in the division and technically three and a half games over the Rams and Niners. They're still the only team in the West that has scored more points than they've allowed and at this point they've got one less win than the other three combined.
NFC West Standings
(updated 11.4.2008 at 3:45 AM CST)
San Francisco: The Niners are coming off a much needed bye week and they'll look like a much different team that the unit than the Cardinals faced to open the season. Six weeks ago the Niners were sitting at a respectable 2-1but a five game losing streak led to Mike Nolan's firing and the benching of JT O'Sullivan. San Fran has lost the past five games by an average score of 33-19 and they rank 19th in total defense and 24th in total offense for the season. The biggest concern for Niners fans has been the play of the QB, or lack thereof, and some are already eyeing the draft for potential first round signal callers. What's the silver lining you ask, well at least they're not the Raiders.
Next Three: @ARI, STL, @DAL
St. Louis: The Rams likely blew their only shot at the division when they lost to the Cardinals last week but they're still, arguably, the second best team in the division. Still though a 2-6 record with back to back losses has the Rams back to thinking about the draft and whether or not it's time to give up on Bulger. Poor play isn't their only problem though as they've sent two recievers to IR and might have to sign a RB until Steven Jackson gets healthy again.
Next Three: @NYJ, @SF, CHI
Seattle: The Hawks fall from grace has been anything but graceful and they aren't getting better anytime soon. They're best defensive player (arguably), Patrick Kerney had 'exploratory surgery' on his shoulder and no one has any idea how long he'll be out (somewhere Levi Brown is very happy). The SeaBirds lost their fourth game out of the last five and looked pretty terrible doing it against the Eagles. Seneca Wallace is proving that he's best suited for a ball cap and a clip board (13 of 29 for 169 (90 of which came on one play) and a TD). The Hawks scored on their first offensive play, 90 yard TD, but would muster just 148 yards for the remainder of the game, including seven 3-and-outs. Oh yea and the team is hoping that Matt Hasselbeck can practice this week, but he's already been ruled out of playing this Sunday.
Next Three: @MIA, ARI, WAS
I'm normally a pretty grounded person (or at least I like to think I am) and I try not to look to far ahead or jump to crazy conclusions, but something occured to me earlier this week. While it's very premature to annoint the Cardinals as the 2008 NFC West Champs, it's awful hard to imagine a scenerio where they blow their current lead. To try and prove my point, just consider that of the Cardinals eight remaing games, five of them at home, and five of them against teams that are .500 or worse. I think it would be hard for the Cardinals go any worse that 5-3 during that stretch but just to be conservative, we'll say they go 4-4. That puts Arizona at 9-7, meaning that for any other NFC West team would have to finish the season 7-1 to even tie the Cardinals. Obviously it all starts for the Cardinals this Monday night and a win and a 6-3 record would look mighty beastly. Agree/Disagree? Who's the biggest threat for the second half of the season?