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2015 NFL Week 10: NFC West Roundup

Take a quick tour around the NFC West. Every week we will recap each teams activity, as well as major storylines and what is next.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Rams dropped a golden opportunity in Week 9 to tighten the race for the NFC West, as well as failed to improve their NFC Wild Card position.

The NFC West went 1-1 during Week 9 of the NFL season. The San Francisco 49ers defeated Atlanta Falcons in a surprising upset, while the St. Louis Rams fell on the road in OT to the Minnesota Vikings. Let's jump right into the division recap.

Arizona Cardinals

Last Week: Last week the Cardinals sat at home and likely enjoyed watching the Rams squander an opportunity to close the gap within the division. The Cardinals still have a two game lead within the West.

Major Storylines: The Cardinals have been a pretty solid team over the last few years, with some very good young talent on both sides of the ball mixed with veteran leadership. The biggest obstacle to the Cardinals and post season success has been the health of their starting QB. With a healthy Carson Palmer in the lineup the Cardinals are a very explosive offensive team, Carson Palmer is the fuel that makes this train roll and he is having an MVP caliber season so far.

Up Next: The Cardinals will travel to the Emerald City to take on the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks sit at 4-4 overall, making this a huge game in the race for the NFC West.

San Francisco 49ers

Last Week: The 49ers won their first game with Blaine Gabbert under center, upsetting the Falcons in Levi Stadium. A surprising upset victory over a playoff hopeful likely put the final nail in the Kaepernick era coffin in San Francisco.

Major Storylines: The big story in the 49ers camp is the benching of quarterback Colin Kaepernick for Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert wasn't necessarily spectacular in the upset victory over the Falcons as he was just 15/25 for 185 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. In spite of losing the time of possession and turnover battle he managed to do just enough for the 49ers to win 17-16.

Up Next: The 49ers will be the last of the NFC West teams to take their bye. It should give Gabbert more opportunity to settle into the starting QB role and develop a better rapport with his receiving corps.

Seattle Seahawks

Last Week: The Seahawks were also on a bye in Week 10, and like the Cardinals, surely they enjoyed watching the Rams fall against the Vikings and land even with them in the standings.

Major Storylines: The Seahawks have had an underwhelming season so far, in spite of a defense that is still doing a good job of limiting the production of opposing offenses. One of the biggest reasons for their struggles is the lack of productivity within the Red Zone. The Seahawks are currently last in the NFL in percentage of Red Zone trips converted into touchdowns at a very pedestrian 29.4%. Wilson has struggled mightily within the red zone, completing just 47.8% of his passes in the Red Zone with only 13 percent of his Red Zone attempts resulting in touchdowns. If the Seahawks are going to right the ship and push the Cardinals for the division their Red Zone efficiency will have to improve dramatically.

Up Next: The Seahawks will host the division leading Arizona Cardinals on Sunday Night Football. This is a huge game within the NFC West, and serves as a big opportunity for each team to stake their claim as the best in the West.

St. Louis Rams

Last Week: The Rams struggled to get much going on offense against the Minnesota Vikings. A strong wind seemed to negatively impact each teams deep passing game, which perhaps allowed the Vikings to concentrate on loading the box to stop Todd Gurley.

Major Storylines: Third down conversion percentage might be the key to the remainder of the Rams season. They are currently on pace to set an all time record for futility in this area. The Rams did sign crafty veteran Wes Welker, long known for his ability to move the chains on third down, but at 34 it is probably not wise to expect him to be as effective as he was with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. This offense needs to do more on all three downs to improve its third down conversion percentage. The offense has managed to survive on big plays from Todd Gurley and Tavon Austin, but they need to be more consistent if they want to seriously contend for a playoff spot.

Up Next: The Rams will head back home to take on another NFC North opponent, the Chicago Bears. The Bears are fresh off their victory over the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football. The Bears will likely be without Matt Forte, and Alshon Jeffrey suffered a leg injury in practice during the week and may be limited. The Rams need to continue their dominance at home, and continue to reinforce the idea they have finally learned how to win the "should win" games.

Let's take a look at the current NFC West standings after the first nine weeks of the 2015 season:

NFC West Standings

Overall Record

Division Record

Division Rank





San Francisco








St. Louis




As you can see the Cardinals are still leading the pack and will be looking to take care of business on the road against the Seahawks to try and extend their division lead. The Rams are just two games out of the division lead and in good position thanks to their 3-0 division record, which includes head to head victories over each of the other NFC West teams. The Seahawks still haven't shown me any reason to believe they are legit contenders in the West, which is why this week's showdown with the Cardinals is so big. The 49ers aren't ready to give up just yet, but they certainly have a long road to climb if they are going to make a playoff push.

Thanks for reading and as always, Go Rams!!!