Here’s a look at three things to watch in the NFL this weekend.
CAN SEAHAWKS MOVE INTO FIRST PLACE ON THEIR DAY OFF?
While Seattle is on its bye after the epic 27-24 overtime win over the 49ers that lasted 3 hours and 49 minutes, San Francisco had to quickly get back to work, hosting the Arizona Cardinals. And if Arizona pulls off the win — which suddenly doesn’t appear the daunting prospect it did a few weeks ago when the 49ers were undefeated and healthier — the Seahawks would officially be in first place in the NFC West by the end of Sunday (both would be 8-2, but Seattle would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker). And just consider the 49ers’ schedule the following three weeks — Green Bay, at Baltimore, at New Orleans. That 8-0 start could turn into 9-4 pretty quickly.
RAMS BEARLY HANGING ON
It seems evident that there will be a new champion of the NFC West after the Rams lost again last week, putting Los Angeles two games behind the Seahawks in the division. The Rams are heavily favored to at least stop the bleeding this week, 6.5-point favorites against another 2018 division winner that is struggling even more — the Chicago Bears. That the Rams got no offensive touchdowns last week against the Steelers led to a week of questions of whether the rest of the NFL has caught up to Sean McVay’s offense. The view here is that there is undoubtedly some of that. But the revamped offensive line appears a much bigger issue. The Rams had one of the best offensive lines in 2017 and 2018 but have one of the worst now. Any offensive scheme looks worse with a bad offensive line.
DO EAGLES HAVE ANOTHER PHILLY SPECIAL IN THEM?
The team the Seahawks play next week, the Philadelphia Eagles, won’t be caught looking ahead to surging Seattle. Instead, the Eagles are bracing for a visit from the Patriots and a rematch of the memorable Super Bowl of two seasons ago. But the Eagles have little time for nostalgia, standing at 5-4 and tied with Dallas in the NFC East. That the NFC West (49ers, Seahawks) and North (Packers, Vikings) each have two teams who have good odds of making the playoffs means that the Eagles or the Cowboys probably have to win the division to make the playoffs. Dallas has already beaten the Eagles once, but Philly gets another crack at the Cowboys at home Dec. 22. The Eagles also have a favorable schedule once they get past the Patriots and Seahawks (two games against the Giants as well as Washington and Miami).