Despite early season improvements shown by all the teams in the division, and the possibility of a bright future for all of them, the best team by far is San Francisco. The 49ers have all the tools to dominate the division for the time being. If the other teams though can make minor adjustments and stick together, then the division will not be a walkover for long.
The San Francisco 49ers defense smothered the Arizona Cardinals Monday night, giving up just a field goal in a 24-3 victory.
The heavyweight match-up between the Cardinals and 49ers might have been scheduled for 12 rounds, but it was over quickly. San Francisco raced out to the early lead and Arizona could never recover. The end result was an easy win for the 49ers, who have a bye up next and can get healthy in preparation for the stretch run.
Points could be hard to come by as San Francisco – winner of 10 of 12 against division opponents – squares off against the offensively-challenged Arizona Cardinals, who are hoping to avoid a fourth consecutive loss.
The Monday Night Game between the Cardinals and 49ers will go far in determining the eventual NFC West winner. Both teams are healthy for the most part, but the Cardinals have so many players banged up, that they will be in trouble if any injuries pop up in the course of the game. The biggest concern for Arizona will be the health of their quarterback who comes into the game already nicked up, and with an offensive line that has allowed the most in the NFL in sacks.
The Monday Night Game could be a hard fought game coming down to execution and which team makes the first big play, or can turn into a blowout. The Cardinals will hope that thier defense can keep them close enough for Larry Fitzgerald to make an impact, while the 49ers look to continue their winning ways and take control of the division.
In two short years, the NFC West has gone from the worst division in the NFL to one of the best. All the teams have raced out to a hot start this season, and if the 49ers hope to win the division they will have to be at the top of their game. With the 49ers and Cardinals facing each other next Monday, San Francisco will either have control of the division or be in for a fight.
The 49ers will be rooting for the Vikings and Packers this weekend to help San Francisco stay alone at the top of the NFC West. The 49ers have played both teams this year and will find themselves rooting for them this week. With San Francisco looking to pad their division lead, and with tough games on their horizon the Cardinals and Rams need to win Sunday to keep up.
“If you’re going to be the best you have to beat the champions, and (the 49ers) weren’t able to do that.”
With Arizona’s loss to the Rams Thursday night, the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons are the only unbeaten teams in the NFL. John Madden told the KCBS morning crew the Texans shouldn’t have too much trouble with the New York Jets Monday night, but that Atlanta will be tested on Sunday by rookie Redskins quarterback RG III.