Sam Bradford Injury: Why Door Is Now Open for Cardinals to Win NFC West

Matt KingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams reacts as the trainer checks his hand during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Edward Jones Dome on September 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Eagles defeated the Rams 31-15. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Jeff Curry/Getty Images

The NFC West is always pretty open because all the teams have been so bad for so long that if any of them put together a decent year, they can win the division. Ten wins is pretty much a guarantee for the playoffs. Hell, eight wins would have taken it last year.

So, when Sam Bradford put together an impressive rookie season to help the Rams improve from 1-15 to 7-9, it seemed like St. Louis might be poised to win the division if they kept improving. But fate has not been kind to the Rams in this very young season.

First, Steven Jackson pulled off a great run, only to come up lame with a quad sprain. Then, their No. 1 receiver, Danny Amendola, broke his shoulder. And in case that wasn't enough, their pride and joy, Bradford, injured his hand on a helmet during a follow-through.

John Clayton reports that Amendola is out 8-10 weeks and Bradford has nerve issues in his throwing hand. 

So we know how long Amendola is out, but Bradford is up in the air. If Bradford is out for more than a week or so, that could open the door for the Niners or Cardinals to pick up a few more wins while the Rams presumably stay stuck at zero.

Even though the Cardinals let Cam Newton run all over them, Kolb looked just as impressive and Beanie Wells added another 90 yards on the ground. It was the classic "bend, but not break" game. Arizona could be potentially dangerous.

The Niners, even though Ted Ginn Jr. had an amazing game, just could not get the ball across the goal line on offense. It's been a problem for a while and, unless something drastic happens, could end up being an issue all year.

My guess in that the Cardinals use their relatively easy schedule early on to build up a quick lead in the NFC West with Bradford out and keep the pressure on all year to win the division.

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