Wednesday, November 24, 2010
How the (NFC) West won't be won
By Kenton Wong
Week 11 saw all four NFC West teams lose for the second time this season (Week 2 was the other). They didn’t just lose either. The Arizona Cardinals (by 18), St. Louis Rams (17), Seattle Seahawks (15) and San Francisco 49ers (21) were blown out. It was especially painful for the 49ers, who were shut out at home for the first time since 1977.
Since 2002, this is the first time all four teams in the same division lost by 10 points or more in the same week. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this marked the first time since the NFL realigned into eight divisions in 2002 that one division has had a pair of 0-4 weeks in the same season.
The pain doesn't stop there.
In Week 9, the Seahawks and Cardinals both lost while the 49ers and Rams were on their bye weeks.
In Weeks 1, 4, 7 and 10, the only wins that NFC West teams racked up were against each other. An NFC West team has beaten an opponent outside the division in just four of the first 11 weeks. The Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals and 49ers are a combined 9-19 in games played outside the division.
Each team been outscored by their opponents. Since the NFL realigned in 2002, there have only been two instances in which all four teams in a division finished with a negative point differential: the 2004 NFC West and the 2006 NFC West. It almost happened in 2008, but the division-winning Cardinals outscored their opponents, 427-426.
This season, all four teams rank in the bottom seven in the NFL in points per game. The Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals and 49ers have a collective point differential of -232, by far the worst of any division in the league.
Since the NFL went to a 12-team playoff format, no team with a losing record has made the playoffs. The worst record by a playoff team since 1990 is 8-8, done eight times, most recently by the 2008 San Diego Chargers.