Winning the Wide-open NFC West Could Come Down to Final Week

To call the NFC West wild would be an understatement.

With three games remaining for all four teams, almost everybody is still in play for the division championship.

Leading the pack is Seattle and St. Louis. Both are 6-7 and lost last weekend. Behind them is San Francisco. After starting 0-5, the 49ers have roared back and, at 5-8, are just one game behind the Seahawks and Rams. The fourth place team, the Arizona Cardinals? Well, they’re the only ones that know they won’t be playing past the first weekend of January.

Of the three teams in contention for the NFC West’s automatic ticket to the playoffs, the Seahawks have hardest remaining schedule. The team’s remaining opponents are a combined 25-14 this season, the only remaining group for any of the three NFC West contenders to have a winning percentage over .500.

Sunday, Atlanta (11-2, first in NFC South) comes to Qwest Field after extending its win streak to seven straight after picking a 31-10 road victory against Carolina last week.

After the Falcons, Seattle heads east to Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers (8-5, third in NFC South) have won three of their last five while showcasing a youth movement on offense. Tampa Bay’s leading receiver, Mike Williams, and running back, LeGarrette Blount, are rookies and Josh Freeman is wrapping up his second season in the National Football League.

To finish the season, the Seahawks fly back home to take on the Rams (6-7, tied for first in NFC West) in what could be the game that determines who will represent the division in the playoffs.

Like Seattle, St. Louis will play two of its final three games at home. Unlike the Seahawks, the Rams will only play one team with at least eight wins.

Sunday, Kansas City heads to the Edward Jones Dome. The Chiefs (8-5, first in AFC West) are coming off are coming off a 31-0 loss in San Diego, but, despite the loss, find themselves atop the AFC West thanks to winning three of their last five games.

The final two games of the season for St. Louis will be divisional matchups, with the first being a home contest against San Francisco (5-8, third in NFC West) and the last being a road game against Seattle (6-7, tied for first in NFC West).

San Francisco has the easiest remaining schedule of the three NFC West contenders.

The 49ers will head down Interstate-5 for Sunday’s matchup in San Diego against the Chargers. San Diego (7-6, second in AFC West) has quietly been one of the NFL’s hottest teams of late, winning four of their last five, and, after starting the season 2-5, are just a game back in the AFC West title hunt.

Following the in-state matchup, San Francisco heads to St. Louis (6-7, tied for first in NFC West).

To finish the season, San Francisco will welcome Arizona to Candlestick Park. The Cardinals (4-9, fourth in NFC West) have gone through three quarterbacks this season after cutting potential starter Matt Leinart prior to the start of the season and four of their last five games.

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