By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG
“Living in the Wild Wild West. The Wild Wild NFC West!” Ok, that may not be the exact lyrics to the 1988 Escape Club hit (Oh yeah, I went there) but it fits this season’s NFC West quite perfectly.
The NFC West has gotten rave reviews through the first two weeks of the season and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. MVP level play from Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Insane defense from Aaron Donald and the rest of the Los Angeles Rams. Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray making that huge 2nd-year leap. And San Francisco doing what they often do…defying the odds in spite of mounting injuries.
I’ve said this in almost every article I’ve written about the NFC West this year, but I’ll say it again. Whoever wins this division will win by millimeters. Let’s take a look at week 3 to see if this week will slow any of the teams down.
San Francisco 49ers vs New York Giants
10 a.m. PT
To put it mildly, the 49ers aren’t thrilled to be back at MetLife Stadium for a second week in a row. Head coach Kyle Shanahan put most the blame for all of the week 2 injuries on the turf at MetLife, saying it was sticky. After evaluation, the NFL has said there is nothing wrong with the turf, so Shanahan and the rest of the team will need to switch focus on why there were injuries to HOW they will deal with them.
The team has already said they will most likely have to go with their back up QB, Nick Mullens, while starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo deals with his high ankle sprain. They will also have to shuffle the rest of their team to fill all the injury holes left after their win against the New York Jets last week. As I mentioned in my article earlier this week, the 49ers were hit the hardest by injuries in week 2, losing 3 starters for the season.
However, this week’s opponent also lost 2 starters, including superstar running back Saquon Barkley. With Barkley out and the rest of the Giants team struggling, I don’t see the 49ers’ injuries stopping them from winning. They have enough depth to get through many of these games.
— The Fantasy Source 🏈 (@FantasySource_) September 23, 2020
Los Angeles Rams vs Buffalo Bills
10 a.m. PT
This one is going to be fun. The Rams have shown that they have rebounded from last season’s disappointments and are ready to be a force in the division again. The Bills have made it known they are the top dog in their division, no matter how well QB Cam Newton and the rest of the Patriots are playing. This one will be a slugfest and I love every minute of it.
These teams haven’t played each other since 2016, and a lot has changed since then. Wide receiver Robert Woods will go back to Buffalo for the first time since he left the team, so you know he will want to prove a thing or two to them. The Rams defense will be a very stout test for Bills QB Josh Allen, who has been known to turn it over a time or two. However, Allen is killing it this season, leading the NFL in passing. Rams QB Jared Goff will also have his hands full with the Bills defense who have the highest pass-rush win rate in the league.
Can the Rams continue their early east coast game winning streak? Can Stefon Diggs continue his triple-digit yardage? Could this end up being the highest scoring game of the week? Lowest scoring? WHO KNOWS?! But in my mind, this is the game of the week.
Dallas Cowboys vs Seattle Seahawks
1:25 p.m. PT
I think this is technically the “Game of the Week” for TV, but I stand by my statement above about the Rams and Bills. And it’s not just because I think it will be the better game, I also think it will be more competitive.
Seattle is playing out of its mind, and while the defense is struggling, Wilson is more than making up for any deficiencies. Dallas had a huge comeback win last week against the Falcons, proving you can never count them out, but they also had multiple fumbles so they have a few things to work on.
This game will come down to stopping the run. Seattle has held its opponents to less than 3.5 yards per carry over the first two weeks of the season. However, they’ve not faced a runner like Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott. If Seattle can slow him down at all, it will go a long way toward a victory for Seattle.
Seattle and Dallas have both struggled with stopping the passing game, and they each have prolific passers. Both teams’ defenses lost players to injury, so depth could be a big storyline this week. This game could come down to the wire, and the team who gets the win will do it by the skin of their teeth.
Ready for a battle with the Cowboys.
Take a look at this week’s gameday poster, designed by Ed Fotheringham – A world renowned illustrator based in Seattle. 🎨
Gameday posters go on sale exclusively in the Seahawks app, tomorrow at 10am! pic.twitter.com/mmA2S9gBw3
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) September 22, 2020
Detroit Lions vs Arizona Cardinals
1:25 p.m PT
Week 1 showed us the Cardinals can keep up with, and beat, a very good team. Week 2 showed us they can blow out a not so good one. Week 3 should give us more evidence that this is not the 2019 Cardinals, but an evolved team that’s ready to compete.
There isn’t much more anyone can say about QB Kyler Murray that hasn’t already been said. He is becoming the player most of us thought he would be. With the Lions struggling as badly as they are, I expect to see another week of explosive, highlight reel plays from the QB and the rest of the Cardinals.
The only problem I can see Arizona having is in their secondary. It is often said that Lions QB Matt Stafford is one of the most underrated QBs in the league and on any Sunday he can carve up a defense, especially if wide receiver Kenny Golladay returns. That would give a huge boost to the Detroit offense. And we can’t forget RB Adrian Peterson, who’s averaging 6.4 yards a carry.
This is Arizona’s game to lose, and if they perform at all like they have the last few weeks, they should bring home a win.
Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG