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Rest of the NFC West, Week 13: Kyler returns, Rams break skid

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

It might be hard to focus on anything else going on around the NFL right now, given the fact that the Seattle Seahawks are most likely not bound for the playoffs. That got even more difficult today, since we finally have a victory to celebrate. I kept an eye on our division foes this weekend so you didn’t have to. Here’s what you should know from this weekend’s NFC West games.

49ers continue to shoot themselves in the foot in Seattle

I’m assuming most of you watched this game, and noticed that it was completely bonkers. The Seahawks bailed the 49ers out time and time again, turning the ball over or just screwing up on offense, but Jimmy G (and the Niners’ penalty issues) cost them all of these opportunities. It’s obviously a rivalry game (if you can call something so one-sided a rivalry anymore), so the result should definitely be taken with a grain of salt, as I hope everyone did with the 49ers-Rams game from last month. However, the Niners continue to show that with Garoppolo under center they just can’t be a consistent team. I’m sure a lot of Niners fans will be calling for Trey Lance after this game, and I can’t blame them.

As far as the defensive side of the ball, the Niners had a lot of injuries, so I don’t really blame them for what was a fairly rough showing (although they were assisted greatly by the implosion of Gerald Everett). It was really the penalties, especially unnecessary roughness/personal fouls that cost them. Great teams don’t make those mistakes.

Rams handle business against Jacksonville, end skid

Well, the Rams’ losing streak is over, and to nobody’s surprise, they beat the lowly Jaguars by a score of 37-7. Cooper Kupp got back on track after a somewhat off-week in Green Bay, and Matthew Stafford avoided throwing a pick-6, which seems to be a rarity for him these days. We’ll see these guys in two weeks and find out just how good they really are.

Kyler returns for Cardinals as defense dominates in Chicago

The Cardinals’ visit to Chicago wasn’t a great chance to get a look at the returning Murray, as the ball mostly stayed on the ground due to the pouring rain at Soldier Field, but the Cardinals looked every bit like a 10-2 team in their 33-22 victory. Even though Andy Dalton did have some chances to get the Bears within striking distance in the second half, the Cardinals’ lead was never really under threat. The defense was excellent, forcing four interceptions out of Dalton, a few of which were really excellent plays by the interceptors, rather than just errant throws by the Chicago QB.

Two things to keep an eye on in the Cardinals offense: the struggles of DeAndre Hopkins and the continued dominance of James Conner. Conner scored again against the Bears and ran roughshod over Chicago on Sunday. He’s the best running back in the division right now, and with the impending return of Chase Edmonds from IR, that backfield is set to be even more dynamic.

Hopkins, meanwhile, has faded in the Cardinals’ offense this year. He has not cracked 90 yards receiving in any game this year, and has only had more than six receptions once. Hopkins has never really been a volume receiver in the same way that Cooper Kupp is, but his lack of involvement in the Cardinals’ offense the past two weeks (with just four catches over two games) has to be troubling for Arizona fans.

Standings

Arizona Cardinals - 10-2 (4-0 DIV)

Los Angeles Rams - 8-4 (1-2 DIV)

San Francisco 49ers - 6-6 (1-4 DIV)

Seattle Seahawks - 4-8 (2-2 DIV)

Next Week

Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams (MNF)

Seattle Seahawks at Houston Texans

San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals