The NFC West has lived up to its billing as the worst division in football. Only one team has a winning record (the Seattle Seahawks), and none of the teams in the division have a positive point differential in the first half of the season (although the Rams are close at -1).
Seattle Seahawks Midseason Report (4-3)
The Seattle Seahawks may be one of the weakest division leaders in the NFL. They rank in the bottom fourth of the league in both total offense and total defense, and despite their winning record they actually have a negative point differential on the season (-17).
There are two reasons Seattle has stayed in the NFC West race. The first reason is because, despite their overall bad play, the Seahawks have played well on special teams. The second reason is because the NFC West is the weakest division in the NFL and it’s very likely that going 9-7 or even 8-8 will be good enough to win this division.
Total Offense: 275.1 yards/game (30th)
Total Defense: 368.3 yards/game allowed (26th)
Seattle Seahawks Midseason Grade: B-
St. Louis Rams Midseason Report (4-4)
The St. Louis Rams haven’t been terrific this season, but they’ve improved greatly on their past three seasons, when they went 6-42. The Rams’ defense has actually been playing well, and the offense that’s been one of the laughing stocks of the NFL has turned into a respectable sight. This is mainly due to the terrific play of rookie quarterback Sam Bradford. The first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Bradford has played more like a seasoned veteran than a rookie, heading into the midpoint of the season with five touchdowns and no interceptions over his past three games.
Total Offense: 302.6 yards/game (25th)
Total Defense: 313.9 yards/game allowed (11th)
St. Louis Rams Midseason Grade: B+
Arizona Cardinals Midseason Report (3-4)
The Arizona Cardinals are a mess. Kurt Warner retired over the offseason, and then coach Ken Whisenhunt decided to release quarterback Matt Leinart in the preseason. That has led to Derek Anderson, who is a mediocre quarterback on his good days, and undrafted rookie Max Hall sharing time as the team’s starting quarterback.
Needless to say, the Cardinals’ offense has floundered, and their defense hasn’t been much better. Arizona finds itself tied with the 1-6 Carolina Panthers for worst point differential in the NFC (-65), and there aren’t many signs that the Cardinals are going to be able to improve as the season wears on.
Total Offense: 260.4 yards/game (31st)
Total Defense: 374.1 yards/game allowed (27th)
Arizona Cardinals Midseason Grade: D
San Francisco 49ers Midseason Report (2-6)
The 49ers have been stuck in a horrendous season, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. San Francisco was expected to compete for a playoff spot in the weak NFC West, but they started off the season 0-5 and are basically out of the playoff race. The good news, however, is that they are 2-1 over their past three games, and backup quarterback Troy Smith showed a lot of poise while filling in for the injured (and ineffective) Alex Smith. If Troy Smith is given the starting quarterback job in the second half of the season, the 49ers can at least build some momentum toward next season. If Alex Smith is given the job back, however, fans might just choose to watch replays of the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 World Series rather than watch the 49ers.
Total Offense: 315.9 yards/game (22nd)
Total Defense: 331.3 yards/game allowed (15th)
San Francisco 49ers Midseason Grade: D-
NFC West 2010 Midseason Predictions
The Rams have come on strong this season, and they simply look like the best team in the NFC West. They could easily win the division at 8-8, but I think they can pull off a 9-7 record and not leave anything to fate. The Seahawks are going to stumble a little in the second half, finishing around 7-9. The Arizona Cardinals are lucky to have three wins considering how poorly they’ve played. They finish the season around 5-11, tied with the San Francisco 49ers.
All stats and standings from espn.com
All records and statistics are accurate through Week 8 of the 2010 NFL Season