The 49ers are running away with this thing.
During their bye week, they got to watch the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Rams all kindly lose so they could easily increase their grip on the division. They've gotten into this position by winning on the road and by playing great on defense and on special teams. Their offense isn't anything to write home about, predictably, but they've managed to win in spite of that. At 5-1, the 49ers take on the Browns at Candlestick, and if Cleveland performs anything like they did last week, the Niners should have no problems getting to 6-1. Crazy.
Behind them sit the Seahawks. 2-4. Disappointing, to say the least, had a pretty big opportunity to stay in the discussion, but what can you do now? The Seahawks playoff hopes are dim, but I don't think they're as bad as they've played. We'll see if they can turn things around this weekend against the visiting Bengals. I'm looking for development of youth, attitude and culture changes, and identity forming. I know all that crap is pretty intangible, but it's what we got.
The Cardinals are in a death spiral. Losers of five in a row. Quarterback controversy? Kind of? Their $68 million dollar man isn't quite living up to expectations yet. I'm the first to admit that it's early to pass any judgement on that deal, but maaaaan, things are getting a little hairy down there in the desert. Arizona travels to Baltimore on Sunday, where it could get worse. Will be interesting to see if they can pull one off over in Maryland.
Finally, the Rams. I really didn't think they would be this bad. Bradford looks to be out again this week and they host the Saints. The Rams could fall to 0-7 this weekend and the Cardinals are likely (well, I mean, they're at the Ravens... so...) going to fall to 1-6. Again, -- the Seahawks have a golden opportunity this weekend to distance themselves from the stragglers at the back of the NFC West.
Just a little post-script note: Sorry for the lack of in-depth stuff from me this week - the 'real job' is keeping me busy and I'm out of town for a wedding starting two hours ago, which really cuts into my prep time. Props to the rest of the FG team for picking up the slack.