I predict this will be the final week of NFC West regular-season predictions for 2011.
There, finally got one right.
So much for my thinly-veiled efforts to will the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals toward Week 16 victories and a potentially important matchup to close the regular season Sunday. Both teams lost, dropping my season record to 32-18 heading into Week 17. That's a weak record after going 12-2 to open the season, particularly with the St. Louis Rams outcomes being so easy to forecast.
Let's try to finish on a strong note.
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals, 4:15 p.m. ET. The Cardinals have won their last four home games, including victories over Dallas and San Francisco. The Seahawks have fared pretty well on the road, winning their last two and three of their last five. John Skelton's penchant for turnovers puts Arizona at risk. The Seahawks are healthier at running back. Arizona could be without game-changing return specialist Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals have done a better job than Seattle of rising up at home recently, however. Sando's best guess: Cardinals 20, Seahawks 17.
San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams, 1 p.m. ET. The Rams' upset victory over New Orleans earlier this season puts the 49ers in position to clinch the NFC's second seed and a first-round playoff bye. A victory over the Rams is all the 49ers need. I'm still not sure how the Rams beat the Saints, but that outcome reminds us that just about anything is possible, if not probable, in the NFL. Sando's best guess: 49ers 23, Rams 6.
OK, then, where am I wrong? Guessing quite a few will be picking the Seahawks to win at Arizona. I'd probably take them on a neutral field, and the Skelton turnover factor gives every Cardinals opponent a shot at building a big lead.