Final Word: NFC West

December, 7, 2012
12/07/12
12:36
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 14:

Seeking divisional breakthrough. The Seattle Seahawks play a divisional game at home for the first time this season when Arizona visits CenturyLink Field. They are 0-3 in NFC West play to this point. That makes the Seahawks one of four teams without a divisional victory this season. Kansas City, Tennessee and Detroit are the others. The Cardinals claimed a 20-16 victory over Seattle in Week 1. Arizona has been outscored by 45 points in NFC West games overall, however. Only the Chiefs (minus-53) and Titans (minus-49) have worse scoring differentials in division play.

[+] EnlargeColin Kaepernick
Derick E. Hingle/USA Today SportsColin Kaepernick's ability to make plays outside the pocket should come in handy against Miami.
Kaepernick on the outside. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has thrown three touchdown passes this season, all on passes delivered outside the pocket. He faces a Miami Dolphins defense that ranks 31st in opponents' completion percentage (67.3) and Total QBR (78.9) when defending such throws. Kaepernick could also find opportunities on passes outside the yard-line numbers. Two weeks ago, Seattle's Russell Wilson completed 15 of 18 such passes for 167 yards, two touchdowns and a 142.4 NFL passer rating against Miami. Earlier in the year, St. Louis' Sam Bradford completed 16 of 23 such attempts for 221 yards and a 100.1 rating against the Dolphins.

Sack record within reach. The Dolphins will play without injured left tackle Jake Long this week. Long has struggled as a pass protector this season, at least by his standards, but the Dolphins surely would have preferred Long to rookie replacement Jonathan Martin. The 49ers' Aldon Smith leads the NFL in sacks with 17.5, tying Fred Dean's single-season franchise record. Smith needs five sacks to tie Michael Strahan's NFL record for one season. Note that the NFL did not track sacks officially before the 1982 season.

Rams' rookie show. The Rams head to Buffalo with a chance to further showcase a promising rookie draft class. Rams rookies have 1,354 yards from scrimmage this season, the fifth-highest total for any team's 2012 class. The class has scored 39 of the Rams' 47 points during victories over the past two weeks. That includes three touchdowns from cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Rookie receiver Chris Givens has 16 catches for 207 yards over the past two games. Defensive tackle Michael Brockers hasn't scored points, but he's been increasingly strong against the run. That's a big key for the Rams against the Bills, who rank fourth in rushing yards this season with 1,775.

Wilson milestone near. Seattle's Wilson leads NFL rookies with 19 touchdown passes this season. Peyton Manning (26), Charlie Conerly (22), Cam Newton (21), Andy Dalton (20) and Dan Marino (20) are the only players with more during their rookie seasons. Wilson has nine touchdowns without a pick in his last four games. However, he's facing a Cardinals defense that has traveled well. Arizona picked off Matt Ryan five times in Atlanta. The Cardinals held Tom Brady and the Patriots to 18 points. And while Aaron Rodgers tossed four scoring passes against Arizona, he failed to complete even half his passes. The 49ers' Alex Smith was the lone quarterback to truly torch Arizona's defense this season.

ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this item.

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