Since the 49ers have a bye week, we have to look for other stories to occupy our time this weekend. We have the Panthers Watch every week so that's certainly a plus. The Panthers head down to Tampa to face the Buccaneers in a big game for 49ers draft purposes. I'd imagine our Sunday game day thread will be a Panthers Watch style thread.
This weekend though, 49ers fans have another reason to tune in for the afternoon games. The Arizona Cardinals head up to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in a battle of the 2nd and 3rd place team in the NFC West. The Seahawks currently sit as a 3 point favorite so clearly oddsmakers view this as a tight matchup. The folks at Revenge of the Birds did a breakdown of each position and who had the edge and gave Seattle a 7-6 edge so even they are seeing how tight a battle this could be.
The big plus for Seattle is having Matt Hasselbeck back in the lineup. Last week he lit up the Jacksonville Jaguars to the tune of 4 touchdowns and 241 yards. The Jaguars aren't exactly a stellar squad so we'll certainly take those stats with a grain of salt. At the same time, the Arizona Cardinals secondary is not so good. The folks at RotB went so far as to say, "Even though the game-winning pick six came from a defensive back last week, this unit (cornerbacks) by the Cardinals has been terrible to say the least."
I honestly have paid little attention to our division-mates outside of the 49ers games against them, and their final scores against other folks. After some quick research of my own I tend to think Seattle has the edge in this game, even beyond the home field advantage. Arizona is not a bad team per se, but Seattle appears to have enough of an edge to pull out this key home victory. We've included this game in the prediction contest and barring any late breaking news I will definitely be taking the Seahawks, although not by a large margin of victory.
The question becomes not who will win, but who would you prefer to win? Which team winning would better aid the 49ers cause of attempting to win the NFC West? An Arizona win vaults them into a tie with the 49ers. A Seattle win moves them to .500 and keeps the Cardinals a full game back of the 49ers. I've included a poll to get people's thoughts. I realize a tie is always an option, and might even be favorable to some, but I'm leaving that option off the table for now.