The St. Louis Rams get a much needed bye week to rest and recuperate from the bumps and bruises incurred through surprising start to the season, a start that has them in the thick of things for the NFC West.
When the weekend ends, the Rams could be even better positioned in the NFC West race, considering who the other division teams play this weekend.
The New York Giants are in Seattle this week. Despite Seattle's spotless home record, the Giants are favored by anywhere from 5 to 7 1/2 points. The Seahawks will also be without starting QB Matt Hasselbeck, who suffered a concussion while getting sacked 8 times (8 times!) in a loss at Oakland last week. To make matters worse, interim QB and possible future QB Charlie Whitehurst could be without LT Russell Okung, WR Golden Tate and WR Mike Williams.
Seattle's defense, the team's strong suit, lost DE Red Bryant for the season with a torn MCL and DT Colin Cole, who is out indefinitely with what's believed to be a high ankle sprain. That doesn't bode well for Seattle's season, particularly the next few weeks. They take on Arizona, in Phoenix, in week 10, a week that could have much to say about the division race.
Arizona travels to Minnesota this week. The Vikings, for all their troubles, are 8 to 9-point favorites. I'd like to think I'd bet the spread on that one, but Arizona's offense is a poor matchup against the Vikings defense, which hasn't been quite as fearsome as it once was. But the Cardinals are starting Derek Anderson at QB.
Defensively, Adrian Peterson could rip the Cardinals apart. The league's leading rusher should thrive against a defense that allowed LeGarrett Blount to run for 120 yards last week.
San Francisco is also on a bye this week.
So, if things shake out the way they look like this weekend, the Rams and Seahawks will each be sitting at 4-4, heading into key division games on the road in week 10. The Rams need to beat the 49ers on the road if they're going to have anything to say about their fate this year.