NFC West: Injury situations that matter

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Arizona: Tight ends Leonard Pope and Ben Patrick are hurting. Both could miss the game. Jerame Tuman could be the only healthy tight end. A shortage of tight ends could lead the Cardinals to use three or four receivers more often. That's fine by quarterback Kurt Warner, who likes spreading the field. The Cardinals won't say whether Anquan Boldin will return this week, but there's no reason to expect him to miss the game after doctors cleared the receiver. Travis LaBoy's groin injury is a concern. The pass rush isn't as good without him and the Cardinals need him to help limit Bert Berry's reps.

St. Louis: The Rams have hedged on whether Steven Jackson will play against the Patriots, but coach Jim Haslett sounded confident Monday. That general feeling should stand given the nature of the injury. If Jackson misses the game, the Rams are in better position to run their offense now that Antonio Pittman is healthy. Getting Orlando Pace back helps the offensive line, giving coordinator Al Saunders greater flexibility in the passing game.

San Francisco: The 49ers were healthy for most of the season so far, but that is changing. They will miss defensive end Ray McDonald. Safety Mark Roman is hurting and his backup, Dashon Goldson, will miss the game. Cornerback Shawntae Spencer is already on injured reserve. As a result, the 49ers' secondary isn't quite so deep, but the Seahawks aren't in position to pick apart a secondary.

Seattle: Matt Hasselbeck will miss another start. His absence is always significant, but even his return might not be enough to salvage the passing game. Backup Seneca Wallace is better than he appeared against the Bucs. He could continue to suffer from the depleted situation at receiver. The injury situation at receiver and quarterback continue to affect Mike Holmgren's confidence as a playcaller. Holmgren's lack of confidence affects the quarterback. It's just a bad situation overall and one that could continue to drag down the offense.