NFC West: sando's best guesses

Sando's best guesses: Week 4 predictions

September, 28, 2012
Attempts to will the NFC West to a second consecutive 4-0 week came up a little short.

I'm blaming the San Francisco 49ers for their defeat at Minnesota while taking full responsibility for defiantly picking St. Louis to beat Chicago against conventional wisdom. That's the problem with picking upsets. You're going to be wrong a lot.

Going 2-2 last week brings the record to 6-5 for picking NFC West games to this point. The record would be 9-2 if I had simply picked home teams to win every time. NFC West teams are 6-0 at home and 2-4 on the road.

I'm taking home teams to win two of the NFC West games for Week 4:
  • Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams, 1 p.m. ET: I've had this game marked (in pencil) as one St. Louis would win to signal renewed competitiveness from the Rams in the NFC West. The more I think about it, the less confident I feel in the pick. But let's stick with it on the theory that the Rams will make something happen at home. A return touchdown of some sorts could be the difference. Sando's best guess: Rams 13, Seahawks 10.
  • San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets, 1 p.m.: Imagine the turmoil on the blog if San Francisco were to lose twice in a row. Think fans of their rivals might have some fun with that? I'll admit to not feeling as great about the 49ers' chances as I would have a week ago. Time to refocus, defending NFC West champs. Sando's best guess: 49ers 20, Jets 16.
  • Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 p.m.: I'm heading to Arizona for this one and looking forward to seeing how the Cardinals handle success. Injuries are a potential concern with Beanie Wells out and Darnell Dockett having suffered a hamstring injury. But the Cardinals' defense should control the game. Sando's best guess: Cardinals 20, Dolphins 13.
Note: We've also got the "You called it" competition going, plus the Pigskin Pick'em group. (I unfortunately failed to make predictions one week, killing my score.)

Sando's best guesses: Week 3 predictions

September, 21, 2012
A 4-0 record for NFC West teams in Week 2 nearly matched up with my seemingly optimistic predictions.

The Arizona Cardinals' victory at New England came as the lone revelation here in the land of conquering heroes. Having picked against the Cardinals twice and paid for it, it's time to give them their proper due.

Let's dive right into Week 3:
  • San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m. ET: I'm dismissing the letdown factor simply because accomplished defensive players should relish the opportunity to face Adrian Peterson, one of the great backs of his generation. Justin Smith, NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis and Dashon Goldson should be on notice. So should Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. Sando's best guess: 49ers 24, Vikings 9.
  • St. Louis Rams at Chicago Bears, 1: The Rams aren't supposed to win at Chicago because ... because why again? Oh, because they're not very good? Let's see, they led at Detroit in the final seconds, and they defeated 1-0 Washington. I'll trust Sam Bradford over Jay Cutler while manually overriding the alarm bells going off as I make this pick. Sando's best guess: Rams 19, Bears 17.
  • Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05: Both teams appear fantastic on defense. The Eagles have been much more careless with the football. That could cost them in this matchup. The Cardinals' Ryan Williams has lost two fumbles on 18 carries, a concern. He lost only two on 403 carries at Virginia Tech, according to ESPN Stats & Information. No more, young man. Might this be the week we hear from Williams and the Cardinals' ground game? Sando's best guess: Cardinals 20, Eagles 17.
  • Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks, Monday, 8:20: Pass protection against the Packers' blitzes should concern the Seahawks. The offense had trouble against Arizona's pressure schemes. Seattle must run the ball and I don't think that will be a problem. Besides, there is no turning back at this point. I will settle for nothing less than another 4-0 week from the West. Sando's best guess: Seahawks 27, Packers 20.
Note: We've also got the "You called it" competition going, plus the Pigskin Picks group.

Sando's best guesses: Week 2 predictions

September, 14, 2012
The NFC West surprised us (translation: me) in Week 1 with San Francisco dominating at Green Bay, Kevin Kolb leading a fourth-quarter comeback for Arizona and St. Louis nearly shocking Detroit at Ford Field.

I've got a 1-2 record in predictions to show for opening week. A clock operator's error in Detroit might have been all that stood between me and 0-3.

Let's give this another try with a look at Week 2:
  • Arizona Cardinals at New England Patriots, 1 p.m. ET. Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton relishes "chess matches" with opposing coordinators. He'll get a shot at NFC West alum Josh McDaniels, who is now running the Patriots offense. The board appears stacked in McDaniels' favor, but there's also no pressure on the Cardinals. They're double-digit underdogs with a 1-0 record and a capable defense. Sando's best guess: Patriots 24, Cardinals 13.
  • Washington Redskins at St. Louis Rams, 4:05 ET. The Rams' defensive staff should benefit from having seen how the Redskins planned to use Robert Griffin III this season. I'll go out on a limb and say the Rams, armed with a smart defensive plan and opportunistic cornerbacks, find a way to win their home opener under Jeff Fisher. Sando's best guess: Rams 20, Redskins 17
  • Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks, 4:05 ET. Last week, I let the Cardinals' problems on the offensive line talk me out of picking them to win a home game. Wrong call. This week, the Seahawks' line problems are tempting me to make a similar decision. Not this time. The matchups favor Dallas, but Seattle needs to win this one at home. Sando's best guess: Seahawks 20, Cowboys 19
  • Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers, 8:20 ET. The 49ers have to like this matchup. They won't have to worry too much about the Lions' ground game, an advantage for their defense. San Francisco's offense has gone six-plus games without committing a turnover. That streak won't continue forever, but it's not a fluke, either. I trust the 49ers more than I trust the Lions when it comes to protecting the football. Sando's best guess: 49ers 27, Lions 17.

Thanks for coming along. Note that we've also got the "You called it" competition going, plus the Pigskin Picks group.

Now, where am I wrong on Week 2? Please keep answers under 1,000 words.