One NFL game this week features two teams with at least four victories in each of their last five games.
That game takes place right here in the NFC West.
I'm tempted to pick the 5-7 Arizona Cardinals at home against the 10-2 San Francisco 49ers. Both teams are playing well on defense. The 49ers have already clinched the NFC West title. Yes, they would love to improve their seeding. I just don't think players draw much inspiration from potential seeding scenarios.
We have the Cardinals seeking to avenge an embarrassing defeat at San Francisco a few weeks ago, Arizona's fifth consecutive loss in the series. We have a 49ers team that clinched its division last week and plays a primetime game at home against Pittsburgh next week. As if to make sure that game against the Steelers appeared on the 49ers' radar early, Pittsburgh played the primetime game Thursday night, for all to see.
And now, a quick run through my best guesses for Week 14:
Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m. ET. All those preceding paragraphs are going out the window. Do I think the Cardinals can beat the 49ers? Yes. Do I think the Cardinals will beat the 49ers? Maybe. It hasn't happened since the 2008 season. This game should be much closer than the one between the teams last month. The Cardinals and 49ers are among five NFL teams to allow five or fewer total touchdowns from Week 9-13. Yes, they played the Rams a combined three times during that stretch. Sando's best guess: 49ers 17, Cardinals 13.
Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams, Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET. There are lots of reasons to favor the Seahawks in this matchup. I cannot think of any factors favoring the Rams enough to swing the outcome in their favor. The last time these teams played, the Rams picked off Tarvaris Jackson's first two passes. They still lost by 17 points. It's just tough figuring out where the Rams are going to find their points. Sando's best guess: Seahawks 23, Rams 6.
My record picking NFC West games stands at 27-14 after going 2-1 last week (missing on a disclaimer-ridden 23-20 prediction for a Dallas victory over the Cardinals).
Where am I wrong this time?