As the race at the division’s top rages on, perhaps, it’s become clear that the NFC West was always more top-heavy than anyone would have considered. The Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams have separated themselves from the 49ers and Seahawks by a wide margin in the early going, and it seems like that won’t be changing soon.
However, as anemic as the Niners have looked, they aren’t basement dwellers just yet, thanks to the equally lackluster performance up in Seattle. So, where will all these teams land when everything is said and done? Your guess is as good as mine.
Let’s get into last week’s games and preview today’s matchups.
Arizona Cardinals 31, Texans 5 - Arizona (7-1)*
After starting slow down in Houston, the Cardinal smothered the Texans to the tune of 31 unanswered points. Kyler Murray was brought down in the end zone for the game’s first two points, which was followed by a field goal to get to the unsightly final score of five.
Picking up in the second quarter, Murray, who was shaken up on the safety, returned to his MVP-caliber stratosphere to torch the Texans’ Swiss cheese D for the rest of the day. The most noteworthy performance might belong to Zach Ertz, as he notched four catches for 66 yards and his first touchdown as a Cardinal after getting traded from Philadelphia. The sure-handed and savvy vet makes a fine replacement for the injured Maxx Williams and should be heavily featured the rest of the way.
Coming Up in Week 8:
*Spoiler Alert: The Cardinals already lost on Thursday night to the Green Bay Packers. If you believe Arizona will fall back to the pack as the season continues, this loss will be meaningful by the season's end.
Los Angeles Rams 28, Detroit Lions 19 - Los Angeles (6-1)
There was some unexpected drama in the first matchup between two quarterbacks traded for one another this past offseason. Did anyone think that Jared Goff might actually lead the Lions to a score for the lead with 9 minutes left in the fourth? Detroit led up through the third and was up by double digits for most of the opening quarter, so it seemed within the realm of possibility.
However, the dream all came crashing down when Aaron Donald brought pressure and forced an errant throw into the arms of Jalen Ramsey. Two All-Pros teaming up to do what All-Pros do fundamentally change the outcome of games.
On the other side of the ball, Stafford put up big numbers against his former team while connecting with his favorite target, Cooper Kupp, who’s looked nearly unstoppable so far this season. Now fully ensconced in McVay’s offense, the big-armed quarterback made throwing for 334 yard, and three touchdowns look effortless.
Coming Up in Week 8:
The Rams are facing the Houston Texans on the road. There’s not much of a question if they’ll win against one of the league’s worst teams, only by how much.
New Orleans Saints 13, Seattle Seahawks 10 - Seattle (2-5)
The team keeping the Niners from the bottom of the barrel is the Seattle Seahawks, and if 49ers fans should be able to take solace in anything, it should be this. The once-vaunted home-field advantage of the 12th Man has resulted in a 0-3 record so far this season, including the pretty unwatchable loss on Monday Night Football.
Geno Smith connected for an 84-yard touchdown with DK Metcalf five minutes into gameplay and preceded to throw 83 yards the rest of the way. The offense never got close to sniffing pay dirt again, languishing for the rest of the evening without Russell Wilson at the helm.
Meanwhile, Alvin Kamara totaled a combined 30(!) touches for 179 yards and a score. The back was actually held in check when running but torched the Seahawks through the air at a 12.8 yards per reception clip. They did manage to sack Jameis Winston twice, credit to Kerry Hyder, but it was nothing compared to the five allowed on Geno Smith for a loss of nearly 40 yards.
Coming up in Week 8:
The Seahawks should have a decent chance to pull out a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars at home. It might be more of a challenge than many would’ve projected back in September, especially after the previously-lifeless Jags went to London and came back with a win over the Miami Dolphins. Would anyone be surprised to see Trevor Lawrence exploit the underperforming Seattle secondary to the tune of his second professional win? Honestly, I don’t think so, and that says more about the state of the Seahawks than anything.