Blog Entry

Sunday Night Football = NFC West

Posted on: December 27, 2010 5:20 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2010 5:23 pm
 

Posted by Andy Benoit

The NFL stayed true to its word about placing the game with the greatest playoff implications in the primetime slot for Week 17. Thus, we all get to enjoy an NFC West showdown between the 7-8 Rams and 6-9 Seahawks this Sunday night. We could spend the next six days doing what we’ve done all season in regards to the NFC West: complaining. But with this dog-awful division race guaranteed to be over next week, we might as well just grin and make the best of this Sunday night.

So, let’s start getting acquaintJ. Hall (US Presswire) ed with some of the key players. The Rams are a less irritating team than the perpetually blown-out Seahawks (the Rams have at least made marked strides this season), so we’ll focus on them. They have the NFL’s 18th-ranked defense overall (15th against the run, 20th against the pass), which is impressive given the inexperienced secondary and linebacking core.

A big source of the surprising success has been the play of veteran defensive linemen Fred Robbins and James Hall. Robbins, the longtime Giant, was presumably washed up prior to this year. He’s only 32, but he’d battled an array of injuries the past couple of seasons. Hall, the 33-year-old former Lion, was thought to be nothing more than a declining speed-rusher prior to this season.

As it’s turned out, Robbins has been a cog against the run and, at times, a double-team attracting menace against the pass. He has always had phenomenal initial quickness for his size and wide build; that initial quickness has helped him register six sacks this season.

Hall has been a decent run-defender, though his forte has come as a pass-rusher. The decline he was expected to show has been nonexistent. Hall recorded 1.5 sacks against San Francisco Sunday, giving him 10 on the season. Aside from an 11.5-sack season with the Lions in ’04, he had never even reached the seven-sack plateau before in his career. Mike Sando of ESPN.com writes , “Hall joins a short list of players to reach double-digit sacks at that age since sacks became an official stat for the 1982 season. The others: Trace Armstrong, Rob Burnett, Richard Dent, Chris Doleman, William Fuller, Kevin Greene, Rickey Jackson, Leslie O'Neal, John Randle, Warren Sapp, Bruce Smith, Michael Strahan, Jason Taylor and Reggie White.”

The Rams will undoubtedly need to rebuild their defensive line after this season. Even if Robbins and Hall stay viable for a few more years, depth is an issue moving forward. But in the here and now, St. Louis’ front four – which, of course, is also getting a career-year out of young former No. 2 overall pick Chris Long – has been the driving force behind Steve Spagnuolo’s overachieving defense.

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Since: Nov 27, 2010
Posted on: December 28, 2010 9:34 am
 

Sunday Night Football = NFC West

Excellent comments.  The MLB, the three DL, and the safety you refer to would already have reservations in the hall of fame, let alone the pro bowl, if they either played in the NFC East, or wrote on goal posts with sharpies after a big play.  And that's a direct reflection of how bad the media coverage has gotten, and how stupid most NFL analysts and fans are.



Since: Jun 22, 2009
Posted on: December 28, 2010 9:12 am
 

Sunday Night Football = NFC West

Fair article.  It's good to see a writer on this site do something other than the easy-to-do piling on.  The Rams are not worldbeaters, but they are a quickly ascending team.  Their front four has 25 sacks, with nearly all of that coming from three players.  And the QB just set a rookie record.  The three guys on the D-line, the MLB, and the safety should be considered for the Pro Bowl.  Not all starters, but carefully considered instead of written off.  The Rams have more wins this year than in the previous three years combined.  Any idiot should be able to step back and acknowledge their turnaround is pretty remarkable.  I don't hear any talk about their coach for Coach of the Year, but there should be.  Once again, maybe he doesn't win, but he should be in the discussion.



Since: Aug 27, 2009
Posted on: December 28, 2010 4:02 am
 

Sunday Night Football = NFC West

Awwww C'mon it comes down to jealousy most of you know your teams seasons are over and ur bitter it's okay......oh no wait most(not all) of you go with the flavor of the week team and aren't real fans anyway you go from the pats to the steelers and in two weeks you will have been life long saints fans seriously just SHUT UP and let the real fans enjoy the games:) Once ur in the tournament anything can happen! GO SEAHAWKS!



Since: Apr 3, 2009
Posted on: December 28, 2010 1:33 am
 

Sunday Night Football = NFC West

Its the chitbowl.



Since: Nov 27, 2010
Posted on: December 28, 2010 1:29 am
 

Sunday Night Football = NFC West

There are advantages to being in the NFC East.  You get 15 prime time games a year.  You get a bucket load of undeserving players in the pro bowl.  you get 24-7 media coverage for mediocre teams.  And you probably have an advantage in attracting free agents because of all of the items mentioned.  You have a singular advantage to being in the NFC West.  A playoff spot if you are simply above average.  Sounds fair to me.


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