Now that two full weeks of NFL football is in the books, it’s only fair to take a look at some of the early season power rankings, particularly in the NFC west division. Up to this point the division looks as tough as any other division in the league. Teams in this division have already demonstrated the fire to win big games, as evident by some of the upsets that the teams in the division have handed out. Even in the losing efforts of some games, the teams kept it close up until the final whistle. No team in this division has yet to lose a game by more than four points.
San Francisco 49ers: Will be awarded the top power ranking in the NFC west division for multiple reasons. First and foremost, they are coming off back to back wins against two playoff teams from last season, the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. Both the Lions and Packers have two of the most talented offenses in the league. Which is the second reason the 49ers get the number one position. Because the 49ers defense is so formidable, it is arguably the best defense in the league. The final reason that they get the spot is because of the new look offense that they employ. It’s hard enough to score on them, now teams have to contend with a team that can put up 30 points per night. Unfortunately the 49ers have yet to play a division game yet, and that always brings a higher level of competition. So the rankings can change if a division rival can take it to them. The 49ers schedule does not get a whole lot easier either. Next they face the Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and New York Giants.
Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals have had a tremendous start to their season, holding a record of 2-0 right now. They play with an us-against-the-world mentality, and are scratching and clawing to come out victorious in the first two games. Both of their first two games have been close, but they keep finding ways to win. The Cardinals thus far have an unmatched resolve deep inside them that allows them to overcome adversity. Just last week they upset the heavily favored New England Patriots. And that is without overwhelming numbers coming from out of the backfield or receiving core. So far the running game by committee has not been all that productive, only racking up 148 total rushing yards through two games. And the passing game is equally as non-existent, only producing 350 total passing yards. And that is a team with the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, who has only five catches in two games. To top that all off, the Cardinals are now involved in an even bigger quarterback controversy now that both Kevin Kolb and John Skelton have won games for them. With all of those factors, the Cardinals will have to dig deep to avoid falling from their pedestal. But so far, it looks as if the Cardinals have the potential to keep and undefeated streak going at least a few more games. The Cardinals next face the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, St, Louis Rams, and Buffalo Bills.
Seattle Seahawks: So far the Seahawks are 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the division. Unfortunately that record does not tell the tale of the Seahawks season thus far. They are a far better team than their record states. First of all, they could have, and should have won their week one contest against their division rival Arizona Cardinals. Despite the controversial extra timeout, the Seahawks had the Cardinals backed up to the four yard line. And they took three shots at the endzone before falling short, that loss was a heart breaker. But the Seahawks did storm back in week two and demolished the highly talented Dallas Cowboys. Many believe that the Seahawks should be 2-0 after showing their capabilities. Leading the charge on offense is Marshawn Lynch, but they may be leaning on him too much. Lynch has been a beast thus far carrying for 207 yards. He is more than making up for the learning curve that rookie quarterback Russell Wilson is going through. Wilson has not played bad either, but he does not have a lot of passing yards, only 304. That low of a number makes the receiving and tight end units a non-factor. And yes he’s young, he has quite a lot to learn still. But moving forward, he has to open up the passing game more or defense will start to wear Lynch down. Unfortunately the upcoming games for the Seahawks are not against desirable opponents. They face the Packers, Rams, Carolina Panthers, Patriots, and 49ers.
St. Louis Rams: Rounding out the NFC west is the St. Louis Rams, who are 1-1 overall. The Rams have played very well so far, losing a close game to the Lions and winning a close game against the Washington Redskins. The game against the Lions could have been won if their defense would have held up in the final minutes, but doing so against Matthew Stafford and friends is easier said than done. On the other hand, they made a valiant comeback to defeat the Redskins with only minutes left on the clock. All in all, the Rams should not be hanging their heads, they played two tough games against two tough teams so far. And their doing all of this with a lack of production from their running back unit. Bruising back Steven Jackson has not hit his stride yet, only rushing for 111 yards in two games. That number is well off his customary pace. Quarterback Sam Bradford has played very well so far this season, especially when he really does not have all that much to work with. The receivers are doing their due diligence, but none of them are top tiered talents. The only standout thus far is Danny Amendola, who has only been over the 500 yards received marker once before in his career. Currently in two games he has 250 yards worth of receiving. It’s clear that he is getting a lot of attention with Jackson’s numbers so low. They have to be careful down the road, other teams will key in on that and attempt to eliminate Amendola’s effectiveness. Luckily their upcoming schedule looks a little more manageable than the rest of the NFC west. They are due to take on the Chicago Bears, Seahawks, Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, and Packers.Sa
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