The NFL enters the second quarter of the season with the 49ers leading the NFC West by two games. We start bye weeks this week and the St. Louis Rams get a break from a brutal start to the season. Just about everything that could go wrong for them has gone wrong to date. Injuries, regression, you name it. They do have a shot to get back into this thing, but it's going to take a sizable turn-around.
Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings - 10:00am PT
The Cardinals are a three point underdog in a game that really could prove to be a toss-up between two teams with numerous question marks. The Vikings sit at 0-4 after losing at Kansas City, and yet I think they still have a few wins in them. If there was any question Donovan McNabb was at the end of the road, he has quickly proven that in four games. Nonetheless, I think he has enough left in them to screw them out of one of the top few draft picks.
I think this game against Arizona is one the Cardinals need to win, but one the Vikings could very well steal away. The Vikings are not a good team, but there's enough talent there to leave some folks disappointed at the end of the game. I suppose this isn't a must-win, but can anything remotely good come from a loss in Minnesota?
Seattle Seahawks @ New York Giants - 10:00am PT
The Seahawks hung close with the Atlanta Falcons at home last week, but all that proved is that Century Link Field (formerly Qwest, but referred to now as the Clink) remains a great home field advantage (let's hope the fans are out of gas by Week 16). On the road though? Same old Seahawks. Upsets do happen and the Giants are prone to them as much as anybody else, but I just can't see it in this case.
The Seahawks joint he Cardinals in a bye week next week, so much like Arizona, a win this week could give them some solid momentum heading into the bye. Maybe we can see if Tarvaris Jackson can do more of what he did against Atlanta, or if he'll revert to the less than spectacular QB he's been previously. If the Seahawks are going to remain in the NFC West race, T-Jax needs to step up consistently. Or they need some serious #BeastMode from Marshawn Lynch. I'll leave it at that.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 1:05pm PT
A week after getting the lone victory in the division, the 49ers have a legitimate chance to do so again this week. Tampa Bay is going to be a very difficult game and in reality could turn into one heck of a dogfight. But, if the 49ers can pull this one out, losses by Arizona and Seattle suddenly give the 49ers a three game lead a mere five games into the season. It's not a simple task, but it is definitely do-able. Fingers crossed for the best!
St. Louis Rams vs. Bye
It's a tough a matchup for the struggling Rams as they looked to avoid an 0-5 start. Oh wait, never mind. The bye week comes at a good time for the Rams who are dealing with a ton of injuries and an awful start. They have faced some tough opponents but 0-4 is 0-4 and they find themselves needed to re-evaluate their position heading into the second quarter of the season.
Their schedule out of the bye does not get any easier. They travel to Green Bay and Dallas, followed by a home game against the New Orleans Saints. After that they have road games against the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns. While neither of those two is particularly great, road games are always tough. 0-9 is not entirely out of the realm of possibility. Even if 7-9 could win the NFC West, there's nothing to indicate the Rams are going to roll off seven straight wins at any point. They are sinking and sinking fast.