Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers: A Look into the Future of the NFC West

Account KillerContributor IDecember 27, 2010

John Skelton (middle) may be the future of the Arizona Cardinals.
John Skelton (middle) may be the future of the Arizona Cardinals.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals are set to play the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday, Jan. 2 at 2:15 MST.

Going into Sunday, both teams are tied for last place in the NFC West, so what does this game mean for each team?

Well, for the Cardinals, they are looking to give rookie quarterback John Skelton another start to prove himself as an NFL quarterback. For Skelton, more opportunity equals more success.

In only three starts Skelton has 46 completions on 101 attempts for 570 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Definitely not extraordinary numbers, but for the situation the Cardinals are in, they now have a reliable quarterback.

Most fans, including myself, are slowly starting to trust this quarterback. Before, Cardinals fans were wondering which quarterback we should pick up in the draft; but now fans can envision him as the starter for a few years to come.

For the 49ers on the other hand, they are just trying to get past this season and move on.

After the eighth straight season of not reaching the playoffs for the 49ers, head coach Mike Singletary was fired. He was let go with only one game remaining on the 2010-2011 season and was the fourth head coach to be fired this season in the NFL. Singletary had an 18-22 record in his three years with the San Francisco 49ers.

This proves that the 49ers are trying to cut ties with anyone that may hold them back from winning. There is plenty of talent on this team, however, with Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Brian Westbrook and even the young receiver Michael Crabtree.

For both of these teams that have a lot of talent, it provides a look into the future of the NFC West. The NFC West is mostly known as a weak division, but in the future, this division could be contending with some of the more impressive divisions like the NFC South and maybe even the AFC East.

This final matchup of the season for the Cardinals and 49ers will be a battle for last place and also for draft position in the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft.

The Arizona Cardinals have moved on from former quarterback Kurt Warner and have, as of now, fully put their trust in the rookie Skelton. The 49ers are also moving on from Singletary and, at least for one game, giving interim coach Jim Tomsula a chance to lead this team before they look for other coaching options.

At 2:15pm MST on Jan. 2 the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers will play their final game this season and it will provide a look into not only the future of both of these teams, but also the NFC West.