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Sunday, September 14, 2008
Around the NFC West: Rams seek redemption

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if the Rams are really as bad as they looked in the opener. Fan reaction has been resoundingly negative.

Also from Thomas: a look at Rams linebacker Will Witherspoon's matchup with Giants running back Brandon Jacobs.

More from Thomas: breaking down the game. He gives the Giants the edge in three of four categories. He offers an "even" verdict when the Rams' pass offense is working against the Giants' pass defense.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee explains why the 49ers go with veterans in their secondary. It's a Mike Nolan thing.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers have struggled against the noise at Qwest Field. Officials have flagged the 49ers for six false starts in the team's last two games at the stadium.

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the Seahawks' opponents have averaged a league-high 2.83 false-start penalties per game at Qwest Field since 2005.

Also from Maiocco: Seattle wins this game if the Seahawks can force two turnovers.

Chrissy Mauck of 49ers.com quotes offensive coordinator Mike Martz on what Rocky Bernard means to the Seahawks' defense. Martz: "He does change them dramatically up front with his presence."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals are looking for a "milestone" victory -- in Week 2. Oddsmakers favor Arizona by nearly a touchdown over the Dolphins, even though the Cardinals haven't been 2-0 since 1991.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune checks in with Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has 333 receptions, more than twice what Jerry Rice had at the same age.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer breaks down keys to the 49ers-Seahawks game. He's wondering whether the Seahawks' pass catchers can improve upon their six-drop performance last week.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times provides a couple of thoughts on the Seahawks' decision to release receiver Samie Parker instead of a kicker. He suggests Parker might not have been able to absorb the offensive system well enough to make a difference before Deion Branch and/or Bobby Engram return.