In clinching their second straight victory, the Seattle Seahawks thrust themselves atop the NFC West standings for the first time this season. As I've mentioned for this particular topic week in and week out, when you have a young team as Seattle does, the hope is they continuously get better as the season progresses. As odd as it may sound, you do not want them to peak too early.
For the San Francisco 49ers, while I wouldn't say they peaked too early, they have definitely hit a bump in the road. Losing three straight can start to creep into the minds of some players and make them question their belief in themselves and this team, as a whole. However, it's a long season, and reaching the halfway point this Sunday, I wouldn't put anything past the 49ers.
One thing we can all agree on, and this was said at the output of the season, the NFC West is a two-team race. Although the Los Angeles Rams showed some promise early on, they are a rebuilding team. I found it odd how so many were reluctant to admit that. Nonetheless, they and the Arizona Cardinals both find themselves in a position where they might want to actually move on from their highly-paid quarterbacks.
Week 9 NFC West standings: Seahawks finally surpass the 49ers for top spot
The Seattle Seahawks are certainly riding high as we enter Week 9. Not only did they claim the top spot in the NFC West, but made a major move prior to the trade deadline in acquiring Pro-Bowler DL Leonard Williams from the Giants. But, there really is no time for celebration. There is a lot of football left and the Seahawks arguably run into their toughest test this weekend on the road against the Baltimore Ravens. Facing another AFC North team, whose defense ranks 2nd in total yards and 1st in scoring, it's quite the task for a Seattle offense that is still in the midst of figuring things out.
The bye week came at the perfect time for the San Francisco 49ers. There is no debating that this offense was not the same without WR Deebo Samuel and LT Trent Williams. Brock Purdy has finally been faced with adversity and gets to take the extra week to get his mind and body right. While his play of late has been weary, I cannot overlook the talent on this offense with Kyle Shanahan as the play-caller. Defensively, the bye week allows newly acquired DE Chase Young to get adjusted to this defense and find his role in helping improve this side of the ball as San Francisco faces Jacksonville coming off the bye week.
Coming off an embarrassing loss on the road in Dallas to the Cowboys, the Rams look to bounce back against a struggling Packers team. This is going to be a measuring stick game for the Packers and Jordan Love. With Matthew Stafford being questionable, the Packers need to win this. For Los Angeles, the remainder of the season is going to continually be about finding young guys who are figuring our their nitch for this team. I was surprised the Rams weren't somewhat of a seller at the trade deadline, but it's hard to imagine this team winning more than 2 games the rest of the way.
The Arizona Cardinals played the Baltimore Ravens tough. Their defense caused fits for Lamar Jackson and hope to do the same this weekend against Deshaun Watson. My concern in this game comes on the offensive side. With rookie QB Clayton Tune most likely making his first pro start, how are they going to fair against the NFL best's defense, the Cleveland Browns. On the road against a Browns team looking to stay alive in the AFC North, I think the Cardinals are overwhelmed by Myles Garrett and company.