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Arizona Cardinals Fly Around the NFC West and Is It Too Early to Talk Playoffs?

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The NFC West went 2-2 over week 10 with wins by the Cardinals and 49ers. The Cardinals are the only team over the .500 mark (6-3) with San Fran currently sitting at 4-5 in second place and the Seahawks (3-6) and Rams (1-8) round out the division. The Niners and Hawks both travel to NFC North opponents this week (Packers and Vikings respectively) while the Cards and Rams will meet for the first time this season.

San Francisco 49ers: The Niners are coming off an uninspiring Thursday night win over the Bears that saw them turn five Jay Cutler picks into just ten points, but a win is a win and it ended a four game losing streak. While a 4-5 record might not inspire a great deal of confidence, the Niners fans aren't giving up on the playoffs just yet. As crazy at that may sound with games remaining against the Packers, Cardinals and Eagles, all of whom are ahead of them in the playoff picture, you could say that they still control their own destiny. Even tougher for the Niners fans to watch right now is the resurgance of the Carolina Panthers, who've won four of their last six after starting 0-3, and with three upcoming games against teams with a combined 9-18 record, that first round pick could get pushed down much further than Niners' fans were hoping. One interesting segment over at Niners' Nation worth checking out is an 'approval rating' on both Mike Singletary and Jimmy Raye (OC). Interestingly enough nearly 90% "approve" of the job being done by Singletary but Raye's "approval" rating is just under 40%.

After the jump we'll look at the Seahawks and Rams, and take a quick look at a premature NFC playoff picture.....

Seattle Seahawks: Obviously Hawks' fans aren't in the best of moods this week after seeing their team squander a two touchdown lead and basically end any hope of competing for anything more than a high draft pick this season. Even though they saw some promising things from thier team, the guys over at Field Gulls are now shifty their focus to key players in the Hawks future and next year's draft. One of the guys they'll focus on over the rest of the season is defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (part I and II) and they're also taking a glance at California's defensive end/tackle Tyson Alualu. The Hawks also made a small roster move yesterday releasing Devin Moore from their practice squad and signing Xavier Omon to take his place.

St. Louis Rams: Despite losing their eighth game of the season the Rams played their best football of the season on Sunday, narrowly losing to the undefeated Saints 28-23. One thing that gives Rams' fans some hope is that this was a game that they coulda/shoulda won, if not for a handful of mistakes, but I'm sure we all know how slipperly that slope can become. The Rams still have more questions than answers right now but hope isn't necessarily a bad thing (unless you ask Red). Right now they're wondering what a better backup running back might mean to the team, whether or not they should be looking at wide recievers in the draft and perhaps most importantly, whether or not their beloved team is disheartened or dangerous. They also made a roster move, placing Keenan Burton on injured reserve and signing Jordan Kent to the active roster.

Ok, so it's probably too early to be talking playoffs but call me an optimist. After so many years of talking prematurely about who we should be taking in the draft, I'm enjoying the flip of of November and December discussion. With that being said, here's what the picture looks like.....

Division Winners:

  1. New Orleans Saints (9-0)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (8-1)
  3. Dallas Cowboys (6-3)
  4. Arizona Cardinals (6-3)

Wild Card Race:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (5-4)
  2. New York Giants (5-4)
  3. Green Bay Packers (5-4)
  4. Atlanta Falcons (5-4)

On Life Support:

  1. Chicago Bears (4-5)
  2. Carolina Panthers (4-5)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (4-5)

I'll leave playoff picture at that for now. Eventually we'll break it down further by looking at each team's upcoming schedule but now it's too much to digest at one time. I will say that the Cardinals remaining schedule is much more managable than the Cowboys so moving into the third seed doesn't seem like a difficult move but moving into the second seed is a much tougher proposition. For the Cards to catch the Vikings you'd have to consider their matchup, at UoP, in three weeks a 'must win' game for the home team.