NFC West Is Up For Grabs

Steven ResnickSenior Writer ISeptember 8, 2008

The NFC West used to be one of the better divisions in the NFL, but something happened along the way to make the division one of the worst. In fact you may not see a NFC West team with a .500 record. Gone are the days of 49ers vs Rams with highpowered offenses and players.

The Rams got embarassed by the Eagles 38-3. The 49ers lost to the Cardinals 23-13. The Seahawks got thouroughly dismantled by the Buffalo Bills. In fact it's a sad day in the division when the Arizona Cardinals are the only team that got a win on opening day.

Lets start off with the Rams first. On paper they have a decent team offensively with Steven Jackson and Torry Holt. But you know it's going to be a long day for any team when your best receiver catches one pass for 9 yards. So, it seems that the Rams offense became stagnant and they weren't able to move the ball down the field with plenty of three and outs. It's sad when the best player on the team becomes the punter. Donnie Jones punted 10 times. Part of the problem for the Rams is that Steven Jackson held out for so long that he isn't in game shape yet and he won't be for the next few weeks either. So, for Rams fans it maybe another long season for the team.

The Seattle Seahawks were supposed to runaway with the division and actually be the only team over .500. Personally, I do not see this happening. The team looks great on paper they have a very solid defense, but you would have never known it by watching their first game. They got no pressure on Trent Edwards who started out slowly but picked the Seahawks secondary apart. The special teams for the Seahawks didn't come out to play either allowing a 63 yard punt return and a touchdown on a fake field goal.

Lastly, for the Seahawks their offense is in shambles. They lost their most experienced back in Mike Holmgren's system in Maurice Morris to injury. They also lost later on in the game Nate Burleson. So there's really no experienced receiver on the Seahawks who is healthy. Deion Branch is out for a while, Bobby Engram may be healthy enough to go come Sunday, but I don't think he's going to rush his return from the cracked shoulder, and lastly Burleson could be out a while with the injured knee. This allows for any team playing the Seahawks to concentrate on stopping the run and forcing them to pass because none of the receivers on the Seahawks have experience and they don't have anything to be scared of with their wide outs.

The 49ers shot themselves in the foot by turning the ball over 5 times. The good news is the offense did move the ball against the Cardinals so it wasn't like they Niners played that bad. Part of it was the lack of experience and being a able to protect the ball mainly O'Sullivan will need to work on that to give the 49ers the chance to maintain long drives. Also, Frank Gore had a good first half but didn't do much in the second half. That has to change if the 49ers want to win games. The defense was exceptional considering the turnovers and that must of the first and second quarters the Cardinals were close to scoring and they were just field goals. If the 49ers can win the turnover battle or keep them even they'll have a better season then last year. Well at least the offense looked better then last years offense. Of course there's no comparison between Mike Martz and whoever the no name coordinator was last year who was absolutely garbage!

The Arizona Cardinals yes the Arizona Cardinals are in first place in the NFC West. Of course it's only after 1 game, but still that's a positive for the organization. They didn't turn the ball over, Edgerrin James ran for over a 100 yard, it took awhile but Anquan Boldin got his 8 catches all in the second half. Larry Fitzgerald had a td catch that he caught over Nate Clements. So, there offense was good. Their defense was even better causing turnovers. Yet, for the Cardinals to have success this season if they do force that many turnovers they will have to score more then just field goals. They have to take advantage of the turnovers the defense creates.

Each team in the division has its share of problems. So, we'll just have to see, but don't count any team in the NFC West to win more then 8 games this year. The rams with their stagnant offense, the Seahawks with the injuries, the 49ers with turnover issues, and the Cardinals with the red zone deficiencies. All in all it may come down to the last few games of the season to see who actually wins the division.