Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NFC West No Longer NFL Worst

Stop. Stop saying that the NFC West is the worst division in the NFL. Stop predicting that a 7-9 record will win the division. Stop accepting that the best NFC West team should still be in the bottom half of every power ranking. You are being a sheep. I should know, because I have been one as well. Take a moment and absorb some facts.

The NFC West is one of five divisions in the NFL with at least three teams sporting 3+ wins. The NFC West has played games against five other NFL divisions, and have a losing record against only one of them (NFC South), with more games left against that divisions worst teams. NFC West teams have already beat two division leaders in Chicago and New Orleans. St. Louis also handily beat the Redskins, and the woeful 49ers lost by a combined five points to the Saints and @Atlanta. Winning on the road outside the division remains a challenge, but the Seahawks just managed it in Chicago.

Every team in the NFC has at least two losses. Who is to say the NFC West is any worse than any of these other divisions? People joke about the 49ers, including this blogger, but dismiss them at your own risk. The majority of NFC teams would have a similar record with that opening schedule. St Louis has been a joke for years, and people recognize their growth with phenom Sam Bradford at QB. What most miss is that their defense is on the rise as well. They lead the division, and are 11th overall in points allowed. Their pass rush has tied them with Seattle for 6th most sacks in the NFL. As a Seahawks fan, I must point out that Seattle has played one fewer game. The Seahawks defense can pressure the passer and is the 2nd best rush defense in the NFL, either by yards allowed or yards per carry.

If you want to find the worst division in football, look no further than the AFC West, where 3 of the 4 teams have four losses. Proof will be on the field as the NFC West battles the AFC West all season. There will, though, be a team in this division that wins 10 games. There may even be a team in this division that wins a playoff game, just like they have every year since 2003. How many other NFC divisions can claim that track record? It is time to let go of those lazy assumptions, and realize the NFC West is on the rise.

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