The NFC West is shaking out pretty much as expected.
There have been surprises through Week 9, of course.
Arizona's 4-0 start was a surprise given concerns at quarterback and along the offensive line. St. Louis was initially more competitive than anticipated. Seattle initially held back rookie quarterback Russell Wilson to a degree unseen during preseason. San Francisco has probably been better on offense than widely anticipated.
2012 Power Rankings: Sando's Ballots
But as we look at the NFC West standings heading into Week 10, we see the 49ers in first place, as expected. We see Seattle in second place and emerging as the favorite to stay in that spot thanks to stronger quarterback play. That was anticipated around here.
Injuries are making it tougher for Arizona to mask known weaknesses and keep pace. The number of injuries to key players on offense could not be anticipated. But those of us who thought the Rams might challenge Arizona for third place in the division could wind up being right.
These thoughts came to mind Tuesday when ESPN's Power Rankings appeared on the site. I noticed my ballot for this week lined up very closely with the one I cast heading into Week 1, at least in regard to NFC West teams. Much could change in the coming weeks, but I think we've got a good feel for what to expect.
The chart shows no more than four spots separating my rankings from Weeks 1 and 10 for NFC West teams.