Things became a lot more interesting last week. The San Francisco 49ers lost to the Rams and Seattle pulled off the upset in Chicago. There is now only a game and a half separating these two teams and they will face off in Week 16. As we enter the final stretch of the season, every game is important. There is a lot on the line this week.
Here is your NFC West Week 14 preview.
St. Louis Rams (5-6-1) at Buffalo Bills (5-7)
There is not enough praise in the world for this St. Louis Rams team. After winning just two games in 2011, they have won five already this year and are undefeated against the NFC West division.
They started their season off with a bang, nearly upsetting Detroit and then followed that up by handing Robert Griffin III his first NFL loss. This was great for the Rams considering they traded away the No. 2 pick in the draft that was used to select RGIII.
Since then they have reeled off wins against Seattle and San Francisco. The Rams were also the first team to beat Arizona this season and have returned the favor after being swept by the Cardinals last year.
As for Buffalo, they have been a very up and down team this year. After making a splash in free agency, many had them slated as their surprise pick to make the playoffs. Unfortunately for those people, the Bills have lost to teams like the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans this year.
Both teams are better than they have been given credit for. We could have a very good game on our hands. Expect the Rams to walk into Buffalo and beat the Bills this week.
Miami Dolphins (5-7) at San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1)
Even after an overtime loss in St. Louis last week, Jim Harbaugh has elected to go with Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith this week. Kaepernick replaced Smith a few weeks ago and has a 2-1 record as the 49ers starter.
Many people expected San Francisco to walk away with the division this year, but they have had a couple of tough losses, leaving the door open for teams like Seattle and St. Louis. The 49ers have a few tough games coming up and cannot afford to lose this one.
With the way they have played this season, I have a hard time guaranteeing them to beat anyone. One thing this team has done well, however, is rebounding from a loss.
After losing to the Vikings in Week 3, they would go on to win their next two games by a combined score of 79-3. Then following a Week 6 loss, they would reel off two victories over division opponents.
You can make a case for the Dolphins in this game. Miami kept it close with New England last week and beat Seattle in Week 12. They have a pretty solid team and San Francisco could be focusing more on their game with New England next Sunday night.
My gut tells me that the Dolphins have a shot here, but logic says that the 49ers will not drop this game at home.
Arizona Cardinals (4-8) at Seattle Seahawks (7-5)
The Seattle Seahawks picked up a huge win in Chicago last week and are now just a game and a half back of the division lead. With Tampa Bay, Minnesota and New Orleans all losing, they were able to gain a lot of ground in the wild card race as well.
Of their four remaining games, three of them are at home against division opponents, with the fourth being at the Rogers center in Toronto. With the way the Seahawks have played this year, it is tough to predict how they will do. They could win out and get the No. 3 seed or they could lose out and miss the playoffs.
Seattle is running into the right team at the right time this week. The Arizona Cardinals started the season 4-0, and had a 20-16 win over the Hawks back in Week 1. Since then, however, they have lost eight straight games and do not look like a football team.
Their defense has been great this season, but I could talk all day about just how awful their offense has been. The only difference heading into this game is that John Skelton is expected to get the start over Ryan Lindley. Skelton could keep the game close, but this Cardinals team is not playing with the same intensity they were a couple of months ago.