San Francisco 49ers: 11-5
Reason: I think San Francisco and Seattle are the two best teams in the NFL. However in a brutal division and a tough schedule, they will have some struggles. The 49ers will win the division determined to get revenge against Seattle.
Seattle Seahawks: 10-6
Reason: Add a potential Super Bowl hangover to a tough schedule and Seattle has a challenging season. They should still be very good. The offense should take steps forward. The defense will be dominant. A team capable of a 13 win season will end up with 10.
St. Louis Rams: 9-7
Reason: The Rams have the best defensive line (at least on paper). Overall they are a solid team with a great coach in Jeff Fisher.
Arizona Cardinals: 8-8
Arizona has a very solid team. I think however they fall victim to the division more than anyone. The offensive line is still a concern to me. I am not big on Carson Palmer either. The match ups worry me. This is a team that could prove me wrong. Bruce Arians is a very good coach.
Monday Night football may have been out-shadowed by the World Series but it kept my attention. The Seahawks escaped from St. Louis with a 14-9 win. The game was physical, intense & had the drama that makes football so compelling. Its hard to imagine a more exciting situation then the 1 final play from the 1 yard line that would decide the game.
Many will look at that game as a stinker. It was low scoring, there were way to many penalties, and Seattle was expected to win easy against a back up quarterback. This game however, kept my fascination. In great defensive games like this one, every play is critical and can change the game.
The Seahawks played too back ups at tackle which behooved the vaunted pass rush of St.Louis. The defense loaded the box all game long. They created pressure in the backfield all day long. The Seahawks could not run the ball and failed to capitalize on the 1 on 1 matchups in the secondary.
Kellen Clemens was the starting QB in place for the injured Sam Bradford. The Rams offense struggled to sustain offense but was able to win the field position battle most of the game. The running game was huge for the Rams. If it were not for Clemens turnovers and a missed field goal the Rams would have scored enough points to win. The defense was that dominant.
The game featured dominant front sevens. Both secondarys were mostly successful with demanding man coverage. It was really a defensive clinic.
It was not a game that will please the masses. It was downright ugly at times. Sometimes in football these are the most beautiful struggles. It was intense drama, every play was so important. I found it to be enjoyable.