Friday, October 19, 2012
Final Word: NFC West
By Mike Sando
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 7:
Wind up the pass-rushers:Chris Long, Robert Quinn, Clay Matthews and Jared Allen are pass-rushers to watch in games featuring NFC West teams Sunday. Long and Quinn have combined for 10 sacks for the St. Louis Rams. They'll be facing a Green Bay offense that has stabilized since allowing eight first-half sacks against Seattle. Matthews has eight sacks for the Packers and will match up against Rams left tackle Wayne Hunter, a backup who has missed recent practices with back trouble. Meanwhile, Minnesota has to like Allen's chances working against Arizona Cardinals left tackle D'Anthony Batiste. According to Stats LLC, Batiste ranks second only to Cardinals right tackle Bobby Massie in sacks allowed this season. The totals are nine for Massie and 7.5 for Batiste.
Sam Bradford and the Rams have struggled against the Packers in recent seasons.
Airing it out: The St. Louis Rams, 3-0 at home heading into their game against Green Bay, have lost their past three to the Packers overall. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has more touchdown passes in the past week (six) than the Rams have managed in their past four games against Green Bay dating to 2006. Sam Bradford topped 300 yards passing without finding the end zone during a 24-3 defeat at Lambeau Field last season.
Seeking faster start: The Cardinals have won 11 of their past 15 games overall, but not because of the way they've started on offense. Arizona's offense has only two first-quarter touchdowns since Week 6 last season, a span of 17 games. That is tied with Jacksonville and Indianapolis for the fewest over that stretch. The Jaguars and Colts have played one fewer game apiece during that span.
Outside looking in: Five of the six TD passes Rodgers threw last week were perimeter passes, defined as those caught outside the yard-line numbers. The Rams are allowing a league-low 4.9 yards per attempt on these throws, with two touchdowns and four interceptions. However, the Rams collected three of those perimeter picks way back in the season opener. They allowed one of those scoring passes to Miami's Ryan Tannehill last week. Tannehill completed six such passes while posting a 101.3 NFL passer rating on those throws.
Point taken: The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers combined to allow 19 points against each other Thursday night. The Rams have allowed 33 over their past three games. The Arizona Cardinals head to Minnesota as the only NFL team yet to allow more than 21 points in a 2012 game. The Vikings have scored 26 against Jacksonville, 24 against San Francisco and 30 against Tennessee in their three home games. They have allowed 20 total points in their past two at home. The Cardinals have scored 19 points over their past two games after scoring at least 20 in each of their first four.
Note: ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this entry.