NFC West Schedule Breakdown

DENVER - NOVEMBER 28: Running back Steven Jackson of the St. Louis Rams runs against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at INVESCO Field at Mile High on November 28, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Rams defeated the Broncos 36-33. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The playoff race in the NFC West is really heating up with only five games remaining, so I thought it would be a good idea to compare the schedules for the contenders in the division down the stretch to see who has the best chance of winning this thing. I’m going to list each team’s schedule, discuss it a bit, then summarize at the end. Without further adieu, here we go.

St. Louis Rams: Record 5-6: At Arizona, At New Orleans, Kansas City, San Francisco, At Seattle.

The division games might almost be must-win if the Rams are going to take this thing. Obviously, traveling to New Orleans is going to be tough, and hosting the Chiefs will be as well. I think the Rams can win that Chiefs game at home, and they will be in good shape if they do so. 3-2 will probably be enough to win this thing, so they either need to beat the Chiefs or sweep the division opponents.

Seattle Seahawks: Record 5-6: Carolina, At San Francisco, Atlanta, At Tampa Bay, St. Louis

You have to think that the Carolina game is probably a win, but the rest of the games look tough. San Fran has been tough at home, and Atlanta and Tampa are probably better teams. I think this stretch is a bit tougher than the Rams since they have one less division opponent, but if they win both division games, 3-2 is a possibility. I think it’s more realistic that they go 2-2 heading into the final week, and that final game of the season might just decide who goes to the playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers: Record 4-7: At Green Bay, Seattle, At San Diego, At St. Louis, Arizona.

The Niners have a major uphill battle if they are going to win this thing. They have the toughest schedule of the three teams with trips to Green Bay and San Diego, and they are a game behind the other two to begin with. Assuming they lose to the Pack and Chargers, they would have to sweep the division games and hope no one finishes higher than 7-9. That’s a lot of hoping. They certainly aren’t out of it, but they have the toughest road, especially with Frank Gore done for the year.

So what does this mean? Obviously, no one can predict who will win which game, but something can be said for comparing the roads the teams will have to take. I really think it’s going to come down to the Seahawks and Rams in the final week, and I might have to give the Seahawks the edge since they are at home. Regardless, it should be a fun ride for the next five weeks, so just hang on and enjoy the trip. I know I will.

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