*-Seahawks 14-2: The Seahawks have some fans a little leery with all the close games this season (six games decide by less than a touchdown). Even with all the concern, the Seahawks sit at 8-1.
I mean,what’s there to worry about when the running game is running smoothly (121. 8 yards a game and averaging 4.6 yards a carry), and your defense is only allowing 18.1 points a game. I know the passing game is ranked 27th. Still, Russell Wilson has 16 touchdowns, a 63.2 completion rating, and a 101 quarterback rating.
The only problem I see is the lack of yardage (200.8 yards a game), and Percy Harvin is about to come back and fix that. Some will still say the rush defense is getting ran over (allowing 4.2 yards a carry), which is true, but that’s what happened last season (allowed 4.5 a carry) and they did just fine with their “Legion of Boom” secondary wreaking havoc (ranked second with 13 interceptions). So, Seahawks fan quit worrying. Just watch your team win; even though it’s sometimes a little uneasy, with the way they keep it so close almost every week.
y-49ers 12-4: With many key players (ex. Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, and Michael Crabtree) missing time, it’s pretty remarkable the 49ers have just kept getting better as they adjusted to every setback.
The defense is still elite (ranked sixth and only conceding 18.1 points a game), whereas the offense is the best at hammering down and getting rushing yards (averaging 153 a game). Now, the passing game does need a boost, as it has mostly relied on Vernon Davis, although Michael Crabtree is getting close to returning to help this problem.
San Francisco should also start getting better (ranked 26th only 17 sacks) at attacking the quarterback, with Aldon Smith returning this week. The only real problem I see the 49ers having that will stop them from a division title, is how poor they have played against their biggest rival, the Seahawks (outscored 71- 16 in last two games). However, with a 6-2 record, I will be shocked if they don’t make the playoffs especially with them starting to get their key players back on the field.
Cardinals 7-9: Carson Palmer hasn’t exactly (18 interceptions) been the second coming of Kurt Warner. There is good news, even with all the change in personal the defense is playing solid (ranked 13th), mainly against the rush (only yielding 3.5 yards a carry), under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Also, rookie running back Andre Ellington is starting to assert himself as the lead back (7.7 yards a carry) with his breakaway speed. Because of this, surprisingly the Cardinals are still breathing (4-4) in the race for the playoffs. The only problem is they play in a division with two NFC powerhouses, (49ers and Seahawks) that they have to face four times by the end of the season.
Rams 5-11: There was hope that when St. Louis drafted wide receiver Tavon Austin, the Rams offense would finally start clicking this season; after a subpar performance in 2012. Well things have not turned out so well. Besides one game, Austin hasn’t been to exciting ( 31 receptions, 207 receiving yards, and two touchdowns) . There was a two game winning streak that made things seem hopeful (outscored Jaguars and Texans 72- 33);only to watch it slip away when Bradford went down.
It also doesn’t help that the Rams are getting sliced and diced, week in and week out by opposing running backs.(allowing 125.2 yards a game). About the only positive thing to happen so far this season is rookie running back Zac Stacy, who has been on fire lately ( averaging 94.2 yards in last five games) . Even so, this season is a bust for the Rams. Despite that, the Rams once again have two first round picks again, and might need to decide if they really think Bradford is the key to success at quarterback.
x – Clinched playoff
y – Clinched Wild Card
z – Clinched Division
* – Clinched Division and Homefield Advantage