The Week 7 NFC West Brief

They shouldn't be having this much fun, dammit.

Screen_shot_2011-10-19_at_5 

Well, we've looked at the rest of the Seahawks' schedule so it only makes sense to take a look at what's going on in the Seahawks' division. 

The 49ers are firmly in control. They've outscored their opponents by 70 points - the only team in the division to even have more points than their opponents - and have won four in a row. Their only loss came in Week Two to the Cowboys at home, and since then, they've beaten the now 4-2 Bengals 13-8 and the Dream Team Eagles 24-23 on the road, came back to Candlestick and annihilated the Buccaneers 48-3, then went back to Detroit and beat the previously undefeated Lions. Impressive, really. 

I think any doubt we might have had about the 49ers legitimacy can be put to bed for the time being. They're the clear favorites for the NFC West and playoff hopes for the Seahawks might best be pinned on that elusive Wild-Card. Which means you root against the Falcons, Bucs, Lions, Bears, Tigers, Oh my. It's going to take a bit of a miracle and 7-9 is not going to win this division again, barring some bizarro collapse by the 49ers (fingers crossed). 

The Seahawks are in second place right now and it's looking like their main competition is going to be the Cardinals. Thing is, this whole Kevin Kolb experiment hasn't been living up to its $65 million expectations. He's thrown 1 touchdown and 5 interceptions in his last three games and they host Pittsburgh and their leauge's best defense this weekend.

There's a good chance the Cardinals go to 1-5 after Sunday, and there's a good chance the sinking Rams go to 0-6 at Dallas, especially if Sam Bradford doesn't play. 

That means, if the Seahawks win at Cleveland, they put themselves in a pretty good spot to contend, and really distance themselves from the rest of the West. 

Let's take a look at what the people that know these teams best are saying.

San Francisco 49ers:

49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh: Instilling His Own Personality In This Team? - Niners Nation
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh just wrapped up his usual Monday press conference and as expected there were numerous questions about the handshake incident. Thankfully I'd imagine this story is close to dying out barring a playoff meeting. However, Coach Harbaugh's personality in that instance and really throughout this season seems to be part of the 49ers success. He has instilled a blue collar work ethic that is actually working. We hear talk about teams wanting to be blue collar and have a strong work ethic, but for once it is coming through and creating success for this team.

49ers Success: How Did They Overcome The Lockout? - Niners Nation
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh chatted with the media yesterday (transcript after the jump) and he was asked at one point about some comments Jim Schwartz may have made to him a dinner during the NFL Lockout. The story goes that Jim Schwartz thought new coaches would have a really tough time getting things together due to an expected short turnaround time once the lockout ended.

2011 San Francisco 49ers: Managing The Bandwagon - Niners Nation
Yesterday evening a destitute Minnesota Vikings wrote up a FanPost asking for a one season pass to change his allegiance to the San Francisco 49ers. Given how the last decade has gone, this caught me a little bit off guard. I know the bandwagon is filling up, but it is still an odd feeling for this 49ers fan. The 49ers have been preseason favorites in the NFC West a couple of times over the last 6+ years, but they struggled out of the gate and sent any potential bandwagon off a cliff.

49ers vs Lions: Running Game Review - Niners Nation
They had us worried there for a second, but the 49ers offensive line has really really stepped up the last three weeks. Frank Gore has now run for 120+ yards three games in a row. He's also averaging like 17, give or take 12 yards, a carry this season after a very slow start. I think it's safe to say the offensive line is now comfortable in Harbaugh and Roman's system. Perhaps during those first few games they had to think too much about what were doing instead of just playing.

2011, Where They Stand: San Francisco 49ers (Part I) - Niners Nation
After a triumphant outing against the Detroit Lions, the 5-1 San Francisco 49ers are on a 4-game win streak and entering their bye week. At this point, I think it's safe to say that we have a pretty good idea of what the 49ers are bringing on Sundays. In this two-part piece, I'd like to discuss what we've seen from the Niners and what we can expect to see --- both good and bad.

Earning Respect: 49ers ILB NaVorro Bowman - Niners Nation
There have been many surprises so far in the 2011 NFL season. Surprises like the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions winning games, the Philadelphia Eagles struggle and most recently, the trading of Carson Palmer to the Oakland Raiders. One of the biggest unspoken surprises in the league so far is 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman out-tackling All Pro teammate Patrick Willis.

Arizona Cardinals: 

Five games into the 2011 season – A look at Kevin Kolb - Revenge of the Birds
The move to get Kevin Kolb from the Eagles was a costly one, both in contract given and trade cost and it has no doubt elevated the play at quarterback for the Cardinals. However there are still many areas of Kolb's game that he needs to elevate if he is going to prove himself worthy of the moniker "franchise quarterback." Not long after the trade was completed I wrote on this site what the Cardinals needed to do to get the best out of Kevin Kolb. After the jump we will look at area's where Kolb has struggled with his game and whether or not the Cardinals have adapted their offense to play to the strengths of Kevin Kolb here.

Kevin Kolb's Play Is Not Unlike That Of A Successful Quarterback Of The Past - Revenge of the Birds
During Kevin Kolb's short career as an Arizona Cardinal, he has had to overcome quite a bit of criticism levied against him. People have been questioning whether or not he is worth everything the Cards had to trade to the Eagles in order to acquire him. It's hard to argue that Kolb has been underwhelming thus far, but what if we were to compare him to a quarterback that is extremely similar and went on to have a rather successful career. 

Kevin Kolb's Play Is Not Unlike That Of A Successful Quarterback Of The Past - Revenge of the Birds
During Kevin Kolb's short career as an Arizona Cardinal, he has had to overcome quite a bit of criticism levied against him. People have been questioning whether or not he is worth everything the Cards had to trade to the Eagles in order to acquire him. It's hard to argue that Kolb has been underwhelming thus far, but what if we were to compare him to a quarterback that is extremely similar and went on to have a rather successful career. 

Is Ken Whisenhunt's Demeanor What The Arizona Cardinals Need From Their Head Coach? - Revenge of the Birds
One thing that gets analyzed, among all the minutia the does, is how a coach interacts with his players and reacts to wins and losses. This was the topic of a Darren Urban article over on azcardinals.com. We know that Ken Whisenhunt is too fiery. He doesn't preach sermons like Herm Edwards can, neither is he like Tony Dungy. 

Arizona Cardinals Worried About Themselves And Not Other Teams As They Come Back From Bye - Revenge of the Birds
The Arizona Cardinals had a Monday practice -- an oddity that happens because of the bye on Sunday. After four days off, they were all ready to go. The day was headlined with a players meeting with the coaches present, one that Darnell Dockett described as "one of the most emotional meetings I've ever been in."

Arizona Cardinals Reportedly Were Oh So Close To Acquiring Kyle Orton Instead of Kevin Kolb - Revenge of the Birds
The NFL trading deadline came and went and no one should be really surprised that nothing happened here with the Arizona Cardinals. One, there wasn't much out there. The other part of that story is that the football trade deadline doesn't typically get a lot of important movement. Yes, Carson Palmer got moved, and the price the Raiders paid makes the Kevin Kolb deal seem like chump change. 

St. Louis Rams:

Justin King: Would Safety Be More Fitting? - Turf Show Times
Justin King was drafted by the Rams in the fourth round (101 overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft and had extremely high hopes. Those hopes were crushed with a toe injury versus Tennessee in the preseason that kept him out his entire rookie season.

Green Bay defeats St. Louis 24-3, Rams fall to 0-5 - Turf Show Times
Another loss, another set of questions, another list of disappointments.

Rams Sending WR Austin Pettis "Back To Square One?" - Turf Show Times
The St. Louis Rams have some roster decisions to make. They released Mike Sims-Walker to free up a roster spot for Brandon Lloyd. When they add Mark Clayton and Marquis Johnson back to the active roster, they have two more moves to make to free up those spaces. Knowing that, it made this cryptic tweet from rookie wide receiver Austin Pettis stand out. 


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