THE LATE LATE SHOW

SECOND-HALF GAMES WILL DECIDE THE TITLE
September 04, 2011

Last season Seattle became the first team in league history to win its division with a losing record, as the Seahawks beat the Rams in the season finale to rise to 7--9. It's not inconceivable that the NFC West champion could finish below .500 for a second consecutive season, because most of the divisional games are on the back end of the schedule—after tough early matchups.

For instance, before St. Louis even plays its first divisional game the Rams face the Eagles, Giants, Ravens, Redskins, Packers, Cowboys and Saints. And the 49ers have only one NFC West game before Nov. 20, the season opener versus the Seahawks.

The Cardinals appear to have a notable scheduling advantage: Their first three games are with Carolina (which has a new coach and could be breaking in a rookie quarterback), at Washington (major quarterback issues there) and at Seattle (new QB, new starting wideout, young offensive line); Arizona also plays four of its last five games at home, including divisional matchups against San Francisco and Seattle.

Eight great matchups involving NFC West teams

WEEK 1 at Sunday, Sept. 11

Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh renew a testy rivalry that began when the two were coaching USC and Stanford, respectively.

WEEK 1 at Sunday, Sept. 11

Cam Newton could make his pro debut in the same stadium in which he closed out his college career with a BCS title game win.

WEEK 1 at Sunday, Sept. 11

Provides the first look at the Dream Team, and the debut of the Sam Bradford--Josh McDaniels partnership.

WEEK 8 at Sunday, Oct. 30

Bay Area native Mike Holmgren, once rumored to be headed to the Niners, landed as Cleveland's boss. Which team's in better shape?

WEEK 10 at Sunday, Nov. 13

Kevin Kolb returns to Philly, and Larry Fitzgerald goes up against former practice counterpart Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

WEEK 11 at Sunday, Nov. 20

The loss to Seattle that bounced St. Louis from the playoffs was the Rams' 11th in 12 games against the Seahawks.

WEEK 12 at Thursday, Nov. 24

Brothers face off as NFL head coaches for the first time when Jim and John Harbaugh meet on Thanksgiving night.

WEEK 17 at Sunday, Jan. 1

The NFC West was decided in the final week last season. This game could make it two years running—but will either team be above .500?

PHOTODAMIAN STROHMEYER (JACKSON)STEVEN JACKSON, Rams PHOTOJED JACOBSOHN (WILLIS)PATRICK WILLIS, 49ers SIXTEEN PHOTOS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)