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Just a bit Outsiders: Cardinals really 32nd?

A few NFC West nuggets from Football Outsiders' weekly stats-based rankings of NFL teams:

  • Todd Haley's Kansas City Chiefs stand as the most statistically impressive team, while Haley's former team, Arizona, ranks 32nd. Writes Aaron Schatz: "Now, I don't think that the Chiefs are truly the best team in the league, even if they have the best numbers so far. However, the Chiefs need to be taken seriously as a Super Bowl contender."

  • St. Louis, Seattle and Tampa Bay have benefited from the easiest schedules in the league.

  • The San Francisco 49ers are the highest-ranked team in the NFC West, followed by the Seahawks, Rams and Cardinals.

Those unfamiliar with Football Outsiders' methodology can dive into the fine print.

Schedule is indeed an important variable. I ranked the Rams first among NFC West teams in ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings for Week 9. They're getting the best quarterback play in the division and their defense has generally kept down scoring. The 49ers have faced a tougher schedule, but they've lost to average and below-average teams, too.

Teams can only defeat the teams they play. I'll give the Rams credit for getting to 4-4 even if their record might not be as good against a tougher schedule.