NFC West Week 6 Preview
NFC West Week 6 Schedule
- Sunday, October 18th @ 5:20PM (NBC): Rams @ 49ers
- Monday, October 19th @ 5:15PM (ESPN): Cardinals @ Cowboys
- Bye: Seahawks
Current NFC West Standings
- Seahawks: 5-0
- Rams: 4-1
- Cardinals: 3-2
- 49ers: 2-3
General Week 5 recap and Week 6 overlook:
Through five weeks, the division has made a strong case that it is the best in football. Arizona has been fairly inconsistent, but is still sitting pretty with an above .500 record. Los Angeles has taken care of the vast majority of their opponents and, if it weren’t for a spoiled comeback bid against the Bills, they’d be undefeated. Seattle is undefeated, and Russell Wilson is arguably playing the best football of his career. Then you have San Francisco who, despite their record, still has a reputation of being a good football team. Whether that’ll be the case in a few more weeks, who knows?
Going back to Week 5, the 49ers lost their matchup while all other NFC West teams won theirs. That is already the second time this season that result has occurred. With that being said, the team has lost significant ground in regards to the division title. Just five weeks into the season, the Seahawks have a three-game lead over the reigning NFC West and NFC champions.
Looking ahead to Week 6, there are only two games involving teams within the division. However, both games will certainly get a lot of viewership as they are being played on NBC’s Sunday Night Football and ESPN’s Monday Night Football.
A quick look at the point spread, both the Rams and Cardinals are favorites, as the 49ers and Cowboys are home underdogs. Ouch. The Rams are three point favorites, while the Cardinals are a point and a half favorites.
Here’s a closer look into each matchup:
Los Angeles (4-1) @ San Francisco 49ers (2-3)
2020 Team Stats (Rams on left side - 49ers on right side):
- Points Scored Per Game: 27.2 - 24.8
- Passing Yards Per Game: 274.4 - 262.6
- Rushing Yards Per Game: 139.6 - 129.0
- Points Allowed Per Game: 18.0 - 22.8
- Passing Yards Allowed Per Game: 224.0 - 226.2
- Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game: 106.4 - 107.4
Storyline: Can the 49ers start a push for the playoffs, or is it time to look ahead to the offseason?
This game is truly the one that will tell you everything you need to know about the remainder of the season. If the 49ers win, the playoff hopes will remain alive. A victory against the Rams would be the biggest one of the season, and could give this team the confidence it needs as it gears up for a series of top-tier opponents.
On the other hand, if the 49ers lose, it is highly unlikely that the team makes the playoffs starting with a 2-4. That is a tough accomplishment for any team, and it is even more tough considering the team's next six opponents are the Patriots, Seahawks, Packers, Saints, Rams (again) and Bills.
Knowing a playoff appearance is unlikely, it is inevitable that fans and those in the media will start looking ahead to the offseason. What free agents could make this team better? Who will be the quarterback in 2021? What are the team’s draft needs?
Unfortunately, with a loss to the Rams, the research behind these questions will start much sooner than anyone could have ever expected.
On the bright side, there are still plenty of football games to be played. Starting with the Rams, the 49ers can certainly beat them. The key to victory is to run the ball. Run the ball with Raheem Mostert, and do it over and over and over again.
Establishing the ground game and controlling the time of possession battle are the biggest keys to this game for the 49ers. If they are able to do those things, they’ll have long, sustained drives and, as a result, their defense will stay fresh. Additionally, long sustained drives keep the opposing offense off the field.
Jared Goff and the rest of the Rams offense needs to stay off of the field as much as possible, as they are a tremendous unit. Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee easily make up the most challenging receiving group this secondary has faced thus far. On the ground, the committee of Malcom Brown, Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers is nothing to sneeze at either.
The worst thing that can happen is that the 49ers go down early and get away from the run. It was their downfall against both the Eagles and Dolphins. The more Jimmy Garoppolo has to throw the ball, the more this matchup favors the Rams. Their defense is currently averaging the second most sacks per game, thanks largely to Aaron Donald, who leads the league with 7.5 sacks.
As long as the 49ers neutralize the Rams pass rush by establishing the run, and then use the run to open up the passing game, the team has a legit shot of winning. However, if they fall behind and have to throw the ball, this game may turn into another blow out.
Arizona Cardinals (3-2) @ Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
2020 Team Stats (Cardinals on left side - Cowboys on right side)
- Points Scored Per Game: 25.6 - 32.6
- Passing Yards Per Game: 259.8 - 395.6
- Rushing Yards Per Game: 141.0 - 106.0
- Points Allowed Per Game: 20.4 - 36.0
- Passing Yards Allowed Per Game: 244.6 - 257.4
- Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game: 124.2 - 155.8
Storyline: Can the Cardinals take advantage of a Prescott-less Cowboys team?
Last week, Dak Prescott suffered a gruesome ankle injury. Former Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton stepped in and led the Cowboys to victory over the Giants. With Prescott under center, the Cowboys offense has been one of the best in football. Can Dalton continue its offensive success? If so, can the Cowboys’ defense slow down the Cardinals’ offense? Through five weeks, the Cowboys are on track to have one of the worst defenses in the history of their franchise.
The Cardinals have had an up and down first five weeks of the season. The downs include two losses to the Lions and Panthers, which were two games they were favored in. However, in the grand scheme of things, you have to figure the team is pleased with three wins through five weeks, after they accumulated five wins all of last season.
Led by Kliff Kingsbury, Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and a sneaky solid defense, the future of the Cardinals looks bright. They are certainly in the mix for one of the final wildcard spots, and beating the Cowboys at home would be a huge step in that direction.
For the Cowboys, they have an opportunity to beat a team with a win for the first time. Even though they are in first place within their division with a 2-3 record, they haven’t beat a good team. Just the 0-5 Falcons and the 0-5 Giants. Defending their home turf against the Cardinals during a primetime matchup would be a huge momentum boost, as the team hopes to go on a run to put them in a better position to win the NFC East.
I like the home underdog Dallas Cowboys in this matchup.
LAR @ SF
ARZ @ DAL
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