The NFC West was expected to be the best division in football. Every team was supposed to be a least average and 3 of the 4 were picked by many writers to make the playoffs. So far, that prediction has proven to be pretty much true. The Seahawks still are 1 of the favorites to win it all, the 49ers aren’t not far behind on a lot of lists, the Cardinals are currently undefeated, and Rams have played teams tough. This week, they hope to continue their good play as we go over the NFC West Week 5 Game Previews:
Arizona Cardinals (3-0) at Denver Broncos (2-1) – 7.5
The Arizona Cardinals remain 1 of only 2 undefeated teams left in the league. They are coming off a bye in which they thought their starting QB Carson Palmer would get healthy enough to start this week in Denver. However, Palmer has not progressed as quickly as he would have liked and will be seeking a 2nd opinion on a nerve in his shoulder. Drew Stanton looks like he will be the man under center for the Cardinals in the meantime.
Anytime you play a Peyton Manning led team, you know you’re in for a fight and a high scoring one. Andre Ellington, who is also not 100%, will be leaned on heavily by Stanton, who likes to use short passes and move the chains. I think they will have a tough time, like everyone, leaving Denver with a win, but I think it will be slightly closer than the oddsmakers have made the line.
Prediction: Broncos 34, Cardinals 27
Seattle Seahawks (2-1) at Washinton Redskins (1-3) +7.5
The Seahawks are also coming off a bye, but before that they were able to re-enforce their Superbowl victory by defeating the Broncos 26-20 in overtime. This will be the start of a stretch for Seattle that will take them on the road for 3 of the next 4 games. They are also 10-1 in primetime games nder Pete Carroll. This will be their only appearance on Monday Night Football this year. Luke WIllson will start in place of normal starting TE Zach Miller, who is out 2-4 weeks with ankle surgery.
Starting QB Russell Wilson and RB Marshawn Lynch hope to keep those winning habits intact as they face a Redskin team that looked very rattled against the Giants last Thursday. Kirk Cousins showed his inexperience with 5 turnovers. Starting TE Jordan Reed is practicing, but still questionable while productive backup TE Niles Paul said he hopes to be ready for that game after coming off a concussion. I think Seattle still wins, but beware with their road problems.
Prediction: Seahawks 24, Redskins 20
San Francisco 49ers (2-2) vs Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) +6.5
Last week, the 49ers flipped their usual script of 2nd half meltdowns against the Eagles, who ironically have won all their games with 2nd half comebacks. After being down 21-10 with 1 min to go in the 1st half, the Niner defense, which allowed 0 points in this game, showed some of their grit of previous years and allowed the offense to comeback and win 26-21. Frank Gore showed some of his past moves talling 174 total yards and a TD. Starting TE Vernon Davis who left last week’s game early with back spasms is questionable.
Now the 49ers will host a Kansas City Chiefs, who demolished the once mighty New England Patriots 41-14 on Monday Night Football. Star RB Jamaal Charles led the attack with 3 TDs, while starting QB Alex Smith played an almost flawless game with only 6 incompletions and 3 TDs with no turnovers. This should be a good tight game that can go either way in the end, but I think the 49ers will find a way.
Prediction: 49ers 23, Chiefs 20
St Louis Rams (1-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) – 7
The Rams were yet another NFC West team that was on a bye last week. The biggest news regarding them this week was the announcement by coach Jeff Fisher that QB Austin Davis will start for the rest of the season. The 25 year old undrafted FA has been impressive with 72.3% completion rate, which is the highest in the league of anyone with 90 or more pass attempts. He is also averaging 8 yards per attempt and have 3 TDs.
I started paying attention to Austin when he played well in the 3rd preseason game, same one that original starting QB Sam Bradford got hurt. He will lead the Rams into Philly, who is probably licking their chops after blowing a lead to SF and seeing their highly touted offense put up 0 points. Davis should be looking early and often to his top receiving weapons Brian Quick and Jared Cook. He’s also going to need so help for his running game and starting RB Zac Stacy is only averaging 60 yards a game so far.
Prediction: Eagles 27, Rams 20
Game Milestone Alert: Peyton Manning is 1 touchdown pass away from 500 for his career. He will only be the 2nd QB to accomplish this feat. He currently stands only 9 behind the all time passing TD leader Brett Favre, who has 508.
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