At the halfway point in the 2019 NFL season, the 49ers (7-0) stand atop the NFC West as the only undefeated team remaining in the entire NFC. But who will come out victorious in the end?
San francisco 49ers
Let's start with the team that is currently at the top. They have yet to lose a game and have looked pretty stellar throughout the season. Their stingy defense, led by 4-time All-Pro CB Richard Sherman, has allowed exactly 11 pts/game and 224.4 yds/game, which ranks 2nd and 1st in the entire league, respectively. The offense is doing well too, especially in running the ball. They currently rank 3rd in Points Scored/game (29.6), 2nd in Rush Yds/game (181.1), and 6th in Total Yds/game (387.3). While they have been great in the first 7 games, they are receiving criticism because of their "easy schedule". Their toughest game so far this year was a Week 6 matchup with a divisional foe, the Los Angeles Rams. Additionally, they beat a weak Pittsburgh Steelers team 24-20 in Week 3 and put up a mere 9 points against the Redskins. However, I believe this criticism is invalid. Every game in the NFL is a tough game because of the level of competition. The 49ers have crushed teams. Most recently (last Sunday), they beat a solid Carolina Panthers team 51-13 and it wasn't even close for the majority of the game.
The 49ers continue action this Thursday Night in Primetime against the Arizona Cardinals in Scottsdale, AZ. This is a game they should win, but will be important to get their second divisional win of the year.
The Seahawks (6-2) are a very good football team. At the halfway point, Russel Wilson is leading the NFL MVP campaign. For reference, let's take a look at his stats: 68.4% Completion Percentage, 2,127 Passing yards, 17 Passing TDs (1st in NFL), and a 115.5 QB Rating (1st in NFL). If he continues to put up stats of this magnitude, there is no doubt in my mind that they can win the division. It's not all about one player, but success at the QB position will be key in their quest for the playoffs. Additionally, the defense is creating turnovers and allowing enough opportunities for them to win games. The Seahawks only two losses came at the hands of the AFC North Leaders, the Baltimore Ravens (5-2), and the New Orleans Saints (7-1) in a close, gritty, Week 3 matchup.
The Seahawks look to improve this Sunday at home against the Buccaneers (2-5) before they face the 49ers next Monday Night in Primetime.
Los Angeles Rams
It's only halfway through the season, and the Rams (5-3) have already had a whirlwind of success and failure. They began the season with three straight wins. One of these was a convincing win against a very good New Orleans Saints (7-1) team. They then lost 3 games in a row. The 3-game skid began with a home loss to the Buccaneers and two tough losses to the Seahawks and the 49ers, giving them an 0-2 start in divisional play. They have since had a few confidence-building games against the Falcons (1-7) and Bengals (0-8). The Rams rank in the top 10 of the NFL in Pts/game (26.8), Yards/game (384.5), and Pass Yards/game (287.2). However, their defense Ranks in the "middle of the pack" in most categories. However, the addition of Jalen Ramsey seems to have given them a boost. We know the Rams can score, but will their defense be able to lead them to a NFC West Championship?
They look forward to resting up during a bye week to continue the win streak next Sunday when they face the Steelers (3-4) in Pittsburgh.
The Cardinals (3-4-1) are the forgotten team of this division, but are continuing to improve each week. After starting out 0-3-1, it won 3 straight against the Bengals, Falcons, and Giants, respectively. In their last game against the Saints, they kept it very close for 3 quarters but were simply outmatched in the last quarter of play. Rookie QB Kyler Murray is looking more comfortable each game and is making the kinds of plays that justify drafting him 1st overall. The offense ranks in the middle in almost all statistical categories, and will likely remain near the middle of the NFL standings as well. Despite having exceptional talent and veteran leadership on defense, their performance has been subpar. They will need to turn things around on this side of the ball in order have sustained success going forward.
Arizona has a chance to make a statement in the NFC West as they play the 49ers on Thursday Night. If they are somehow able to pull out a win, it will shock the nation and they will keep their hopes to win the Division alive.
FInal Standing Projection
1. Seattle Seahawks
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Los Angeles Rams
4. Arizona Cardinals
The 49ers are the hottest football team in the world right now, but I believe they will start to cool down as the season goes on. I believe the Seahawks are the most complete team in this division. They possess the highest rated QB in the NFL, one of the league's leading rushers in HB Chris Carson, they have tremendous talent at WR. Additionally, the defense is stellar as expected as they continue to create opportunities for the offense. The biggest downside to this team is the injuries the offensive line has sustained. If they can get healthy and stay healthy, they have an opportunity to win this division and make a push deep into the playoffs.
No Shenanigans, Just Football.