The latest NFC West chat followed the course set by the standings through Week 6. There was more buzz surrounding the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. Both are coming off road wins in the Eastern time zone. The Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams are a combined 1-9. Lots of season left. A few chat highlights:
Quinn from Elizabethtown, Pa., asks whether continuity on the offensive line can help the Seahawks make a strong second-half push and possibly overtake the San Francisco 49ers atop the NFC West.
Mike Sando: Well, that continuity is a work in progress. Center Max Unger has had a boot on his foot. Robert Gallery is returning to the lineup at left guard. We could still see a couple more line combinations from Seattle this season. Overall, though, I do see the Seahawks improving. They haven't suffered devastating injuries to this point. They've been able to fill in pretty nicely with depth at linebacker (K.J. Wright), cornerback (Marcus Trufant) and receiver (Doug Baldwin). I'm going to break out a post on this. It stands in contrast to the Rams' situation, where they too frequently have not had enough good players in reserve.
Sean from Seattle wants to know the chances of the 49ers taking a 9-1 record into their Thanksgiving game against Baltimore in the Harbaugh Bowl. He also wonders why the 49ers didn't make a push to add Brandon Lloyd.
Mike Sando: ^&*(anlljkasd. Sorry about that. A bit distracted while watching your horse slam into the back of your cart like that. You make a good point, though. Home for Cleveland, at Washington, home for the Giants, home for Arizona. I see at least two wins for the 49ers there and probably three. I'll take 8-2 as my projection for them. 9-1 is not out of the realm, but even good teams lose from time to time. On Brandon Lloyd, the Rams got him for a sixth-rounder that can become a fifth. The 49ers probably realized Lloyd would be learning a new system and might not fit as naturally with Braylon Edwards returning. The 49ers use two tight ends a lot, limiting the available spots for wide receivers on the field.
Brian from Phoenix asks whether the Arizona Cardinals have a chance at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers, given that Pittsburgh has its own issues, including on the offensive line.
Mike Sando: Yeah, they have a shot. I'd probably pick them to win had they not played so poorly at Minnesota. This team hasn't shown an ability to win close games. They've shown a pattern of losing close games. I'll go with the Steelers based on their ability to rally against a suspect defense even if the Cardinals play well. One thing I'm looking at: How Kevin Kolb has performed against 3-4 defenses. He's done better lately, including against the Redskins this season. I also addressed Kolb in the NFC411 video published Thursday. This is a big game for him.
Pete from parts unknown asks whether the Rams can "turn things around" with new receivers and an easier schedule in the second half of the season.
Mike Sando: There's a decent chance that will happen. Sam Bradford's ankle injury clouds the picture a little bit. He could be dealing with that all season. I saw improvement from the Rams at Green Bay and think they're closer to breaking through. They'll win some games in the second half of the season.
Did anyone predict final scores for NFC West games in Week 6? I'll be finding out soon and posting the weekly "you called it" predictions item next, hopefully.