The NFC West lead is down to one game for the Arizona Cardinals, as the Cardinals have struggled in their last four games. Arizona had built its impressive lead off of strong defensive play, and the steady leadership of quarterback Carson Palmer; but Palmer’s injury has changed the landscape of the divisional race.
As the NFL heads towards the last four games of the season, the NFC West’s divisional race has become one of the more interesting story lines; as the Seahawks have whittled down Arizona’s lead to one game. All four teams in the NFC west have now faced each other at least once with Seattle and Arizona both owning a 2-1 record against divisional foes. There are three more divisional games left — each team still has to play each other again — each game will have a tremendous impact on the race for the division crown.
Earlier this season, Arizona was running away with the division while Seattle and San Francisco were struggling with injuries and on-field performance that had both teams trailing the Cardinals by three games. Then quarterback Carson Palmer was injured, and his back-up Drew Stanton was forced to fill in. Arizona has gone 2-2 in games started by Stanton, including a 19-3 loss in Seattle, as the Seahawks have closed the gap.
While Seattle started off its season with an impressive win over Green Bay, and then had trouble stopping the opponents offense. The secondary was crippled with injury as cornerback Jeremy Lane — he missed seven games — and safety Cam Chancellor — missed two games — have missed time throughout the season. When the secondary as been healthy, the defense has done a fantastic job of shutting down opponents; and the Hawks have looked more like they did last season.
San Francisco has continued to struggle on the field, and have stumbled its way to a 7-5 record. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has had a rough go of it in 2014, in the first year of his six-year contract extension, and he has hindered the team’s offensive efficiency with his turnovers (eight interceptions, and seven fumbles). It also appears that head coach Jim Harbaugh will be out of a job at season’s end…no matter what happens.
As we head into the final weeks of the NFL’s 2014 regular season, it is going to be interesting to watch how the NFC West turns out. After all, the team that wins the West could end up with the NFC’s No. 1 seed for the second straight season…and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
NFC West Divisional Standings (Week 12)
|Rank||Team (W-L)||Games back|
|1)||Arizona Cardinals (9-3)||—|
|2)||Seattle Seahawks (8-4)||1|
|3)||San Francisco 49ers (7-5)||2|
|4)||St. Louis Rams (5-7)||4|
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