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NFL recap, Week 5: 49ers climb to half game of first place in NFC West

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The NFL will wrap up Week 5 with the Seahawks and Washington squaring off on Monday Night Football. For now, here is how the NFL looks following a busy Week 5.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL season will wrap up week 5 tonight when Washington hosts the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football. The 49ers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, and they will be a half game back of first place in the NFC West, no matter what happens with Seattle. The 49ers face the Rams in St. Louis this week, travel to face the Broncos, have their bye week, and then host the Rams once again. A sweep of those two divisional games would be a big step in making up for the loss in Arizona.

NFC West

The Arizona Cardinals hung closely briefly with the Denver Broncos, trailing 24-20 in the third quarter. They then proceeded to give up 17 unanswered points and lost 41-20. I didn't think they had much of a chance in this one, so I suppose this is not a shocking finish.

The loss drops Arizona to 3-1. The Seahawks are 2-1 following their bye, and will either move into a first place tie with a win over Washington, or drop into third place behind the 49ers. Every game counts, but I just don't see how Seattle loses tonight to Washington. Anything is possible, but Washington is bad. Seattle is not as good on the road as they are at home, but they have done a good job covering the spread on the road against bad teams. Washington qualifies as such.

NFC East

After a miserable start to the 2014 season, the NFC East has actually turned things around considerably. The Cowboys, Eagles and Giants all won on Sunday, and the division likely will finish the week 3-1 after Monday Night Football. Philly and Dallas are tied for first at 4-1, while the Giants are right behind them at 3-2. I still think the Cowboys fall apart at some point, but for now that division is looking pretty good. And considering the 49ers are off to a 2-0 start against them, I'll take that. The 49ers travel to face the Giants in Week 11 (11/16), and then are back home to face Washington in Week 12 (11/23).

Saints are ok, not great

I really thought the New Orleans Saints would be a contender for the Super Bowl this year. The season is far from over, but through five weeks, they are just not all that impressive. It is not surprising they are struggling on the road, but even their two home wins have not been overly impressive. In Week 3, they jumped out to a 13-0 lead on the Minnesota Vikings, and then sort of stumbled home for the win. And yesterday, they had to mount a furious fourth quarter rally to beat the Bucs.

The Bucs and Vikings are not that good. Sure style points don't get you extra wins, but for now, the Saints have some work to do. The 49ers travel to New Orleans in Week 10. The Saints have a bye this week, and then play Detroit (road), Green Bay (home) and Carolina (road) before the 49ers game. They need to figure some things out. Hopefully they don't!

AFC West all over the place

After a strong 2013 season, the AFC East is a bit all over the place. The Denver Broncos would seem to be the best team in the division, but the San Diego Chargers are off to a strong start. The Chargers are 4-1 and hold a half game lead on the Broncos, due to the Denver bye. The Chargers generally have made a late season surge, but this year they have won four straight, and are looking really strong. That Week 16 contest at Levi's Stadium could be a great one to watch.

And of course, there are the Oakland Raiders at the bottom of the standings. Oakland had a bye this week following their London loss to the Miami Dolphins, and they return this week with a new coach. Dennis Allen is out, Tony Sparano is in as the interim coach. The Raiders are a seriously hot mess, but with a new coach, it will be interesting to see if they can turn anything around by Week 14 when the 49ers travel to the East Bay.