The Cardinals continued their great run last week as they improved to 5-1. The 49ers ran into an impossible situation as they were walking into history with Peyton Manning, a situation where they pretty much had a slim shot in the 1st place with all the emotion in the crowd. However, the game that exemplifies the strength of this division from top to bottom was the St Louis Rams knocking off the Seattle Seahawks, but we’ll get into that a little later. Let’s get right into the NFC West Week 8 Game Previews:
Arizona Cardinals (5-1) vs Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) +3.5
It wasn’t a pretty as it probably should have been, but the Arizona Cardinals will take it. They went into Oakland and won a tough game against the Raiders 24-13. Carson Palmer threw for 253 yards and 2 TDs and Andre Ellington had another huge yardage game, racking up 160 total yards. This team is really on a roll and they are starting to exude confidence now that Palmer is back on the field. Before the year, I said they were my sleeper team out west and they seem to be rising up the rankings on everyone’s NFL power polls.
Now, it time for the Cardinals to put up or shut up as they will host the, also 5-1, Philadelphia Eagles. As much as someone would think this could have a video game type score, I think defense will actually be the deciding factor in who wins this game. Eagles should be able to pass at will as they have the 7th best passing offense and the Cardinals have the worst pass defense, but the key to the Eagles offense is RB LeSean McCoy and the Cardinals have the 2nd best rush defense. In the end, this game can go either way and it should be a 3-4 point difference. The line makers definitely got this right.
Prediction: Cardinals 27, Eagles 23
Seattle Seahawks (3-3) at Carolina Panthers (3-3-1) +5
Last week was a rough one for the Seahawks. They lost their 2nd straight game and the way they lost it was just heartbreaking. In the 2nd quarter, the Rams ran back a 90 yard punt return by fooling the entire Seahawk defense into thinking the ball was on the other side of the field. The late in the 4th, with 2:55 left, at their own 18 yard line, the Rams pulled off a fake punt, something no one could expect. They got their 1st down, but that wasn’t it. RB Tre Mason fumbled with 1 min to go, and even though it looked like Seattle had recovered the ball, the Rams were awarded the ball and that’s how it ended, 28-26, Rams.
It’s almost unthinkable that the Seahawks would lose 2 straight, it’s even more unthinkable that they would lose 2 straight by losing at home to the Cowboys and they lose to the Rams. Now here comes Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. So far this year, the Panthers have not played near as well as last year and it because they defense isn’t as dominant. We all know the Seahawks are not the same team on the road as they are at home, so this one will be closer that the odds makers think. Can the Seahawks really lose 3 straight though? I think it’s possible.
Prediction: Seahawks 20, Panthers 23
St Louis Rams (2-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-3) -7.5
As I explained earlier, the Rams are riding high after knocking off the defending Superbowl champions. They made some gutsy calls last week and all of them seemed to pay off. Austin Davis had an extremely efficient game with only 3 incompletions. He ended up with 155 yards, but most importantly, no turnovers. The big thing that came out of last week’s game was the emergence of RB Tre Mason. He took control of the Rams backfield committee and ran for 85 yards and a TD on 18 carries. Benny Cunningham was help to 2 carries and 5 catches, but previous starter, Zac Stacy had zero touches and was on the field for only 1 play.
Now the Rams have a very should trip, in state, to Kansas City to face the Chiefs, who are coming off an impressive win in San Diego. The Chiefs have won 3 of their last 4 and their 2 headed RB combo of Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis has been wrecking shop on the league. They have combined for 749 total yards and 7 TDs. The Rams are going to have a tough time trying to stop that duo. Tre Mason will have to be big again as the Chiefs are the 2nd best team against the pass, so they will have to wear KC down with the run. I think it maybe too tall of a task and the Rams come back to earth a little bit.
Prediction: Rams 13, Chiefs 24
San Francisco 49ers – Bye
The Percy Harvin Trade
This was the biggest story in the division. The deal was completed right before last week’s games, so this is the 1st chance I’ve gotten a chance to address it. This was a deal that, on the field, I don’t like for the Seahawks. They lost their most explosive player and now teams will inch a little closer to the line. It’s now up to Russell Wilson to make them play. For the Jets, it gives them a much needed playmaker. With Harvin, Eric Decker, and Jeremy Kerley, the Jets have a good legitimate group of WRs. They just have to hope they can get the right QB to make them work. We’ll have to see how this plays out as the year continues.
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