Final Word: NFC West

November, 2, 2012
11/02/12
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 9:

[+] EnlargeLynch
Jeremy Brevard/US PresswireSeattle running back Marshawn Lynch ranks second in the NFL in yards after contact with 303.
Beast Mode versus All Day: Seattle's Marshawn Lynch and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson will not be facing each other directly, of course. They will be in the same stadium on the same day, however, which is a treat for NFL fans. Peterson (775 yards) and Lynch (757) are the NFL's leading rushers. Peterson has more yards after contact (404) than Steven Jackson has overall (403). Lynch ranks second in yards after contact with 303. Both backs face defenses that have given ground against the run recently. Peterson has played five of eight games at home and done most of his damage there. All four of his rushing touchdowns were scored at home. Seven of his eight rushes covering 20-plus yards were also at home. Peterson has averaged 5.5 yards per carry at home and 4.5 on the road.

Stopping the Vikings short: The Seahawks will be looking to improve their third-down defense after allowing 12 conversions in 16 chances against Detroit last week. Scott Linehan, the Lions' offensive coordinator, credited his players' ability to gain first-down yardage on passes caught short of the sticks. Linehan was right. The Lions converted four first downs on passes caught short of the first-down marker. That was twice as many as any Seattle opponent had managed in a game previously this season. The Vikings' Christian Ponder has completed a league-high 13 third-down passes for first downs on throws caught short of the sticks. On all downs, Ponder has completed 49 passes for first downs on these throws. That is the third-highest total in the NFL (Tom Brady 57, Matthew Stafford 50). Vikings receiver Percy Harvin averages 11.1 yards per reception, including 8.6 yards after the catch. The Seahawks need to defend him well on shorter passes.

Home-field advantage: Seattle has a 3-0 record at home this season despite facing three quarterbacks with Pro Bowls on their résumés. Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo combined for three touchdowns, three interceptions and a 58.1 Total QBR in those games. Ponder has a 47.3 QBR score on the road this season. He has eight rushes for 25 yards and one first down on the road. That is down from 16 carries for 79 yards and four first downs (with one touchdown) at home. Seattle should fare well in this matchup.

Peterson's redemption tour: Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson suffered through a rough game against Michael Crabtree and the San Francisco 49ers in Week 8. He faces what appears to be even tougher matchups against the Green Bay Packers. Peterson isn't shying away from the scrutiny. "It all depends on how I bounce back," Peterson said. "This will definitely see what type of player I am and how bright my future is." Peterson and the Cardinals' defenders must stay disciplined. Rodgers leads the NFL in yards per attempt (10.3), touchdown passes (four) and passes covering 30-plus yards (four) on throws made from outside the pocket.

Bringing the heat: The 40-degree forecast for Green Bay shouldn't be a huge factor for the warm-weather Cardinals. The heat referenced here relates more to the Arizona pass rush. The Cardinals are allowing an NFL-low 44.8 completion percentage when they pressure with five or more defenders. Rodgers leads the NFL in completion percentage (70) and touchdown passes (10) against such pressure, however. The 49ers' Alex Smith completed 7 of 8 attempts for three touchdowns in these situations Monday night.

Note: ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this item.

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