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December 27, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike Sando

Mike Sando
  (1:04 PM)

NFC West chat about to get going. Thanks for your attendance.

Turner (Boise, ID)

My how times change. Things that travel well in the playoffs, efficient QB play, strong running game and a solid D. Should the Seahawks (and their fans) feel pretty comfortable about having to travel in the postseason?

Mike Sando
  (1:05 PM)

Yeah. The one question I have is whether the pass rush and fourth-quarter pass defense will travel well enough. Has not done so this season.

Nick Habib (New York)

Hi Mike,Assuming current seedings hold true and assuming the Niners take care of business in the first round, do you think they can repeat what they did in Week 1 and win IN Green Bay?

Mike Sando
  (1:06 PM)

I think the Packers are better now than they were then, so I would expect a tougher game.

Mike (Richland ,WA)

Do you think the way the other Seahawks CB's have played that Brandon Browner will get his starting job back?

Mike Sando
  (1:06 PM)

Yes, I do. Walter Thurmond has been covering training tables lately.

Brandon (Pullman, WA)

Sando, If Sherman has a multi-interception game against the Rams does anyone talk about him for defensive player of the year?

Mike Sando
  (1:06 PM)

J.J. Watt will win the award easily.

SteveBDF (New York)

With Richard Sherman snubbed for the Pro Bowl and now cleared of his possible suspension, could he still be an All Pro selection?

Mike Sando
  (1:07 PM)

I think he will be first-team All-Pro.

Rob (Augusta, Ga)

A lot of talk about Wilson for ROTY and all that, but what about Pete for coach of the year? He made the gusty move to name Wilson starter and take the lumps. He tailored the offense to fit Wilson and encourage his growth. He engineered the defense that helped Wilson so much. I know its a great story in Indy and all, but Pete has to be at least in the conversation.

Mike Sando
  (1:08 PM)

I think Carroll is a very good candidate for coach of the year relative to the other coaches from teams with winning records.

austin (richland, wa)

With Sherman how do you like Seattle's chances for a super bowl run? Easily the best team by advanced stats standards. Dont seem to get much respect

Mike Sando
  (1:11 PM)

We have the Seahawks seventh in offensive EPA and sixth in defensive EPA. However, Seattle is a close second to New England in offensive EPA since Week 9. I think we had the Seahawks ranked highly in the power rankings. Respect is being earned.

Blaine Anderson (Seattle)

What are you hearing about Sherman's appeal?

Mike Sando
  (1:12 PM)

From Richard Sherman's verified Twitter account. Also, Adam Schefter tweeted it.

Tigre (South Of The Border)

Have you been surprised that the 49ers have been running so much of their Offense through the Pistol? I'm not 2nd guessing Harbaugh, but it seems like the power running game with the QB under center was (1) working well and (2) set up play action. Do you think we will we see Harbaugh return to that winning philosophy this week and into the Playoffs?

Mike Sando
  (1:14 PM)

I'm not surprised. The 49ers held a 31-3 lead at New England in the past two weeks. It's not like the offense has been inept. Rough game in Seattle, no question, though. Are the 49ers in the early stages of their transition to a post-Gore offense featuring LaMichael James?

Mike Sando
  (1:14 PM)

I'm not surprised. The 49ers held a 31-3 lead at New England in the past two weeks. It's not like the offense has been inept. Rough game in Seattle, no question, though. Are the 49ers in the early stages of their transition to a post-Gore offense featuring LaMichael James?

Ali (Cali)

Who do you think would fit in the best as the Cardinals QB if all the 3 were to be available; Alex Smith, Mike Vick or Flynn?

Mike Sando
  (1:15 PM)

I do not think it's that simple. Vick's downfield throwing could match up with what the Cardinals want to do. However, the team might be best off adapting its offense for the QB. That is what the smart teams are doing.

Julius (Atlanta)

Do you think the Niners still have enough to get to the SB, I'm a die hard fan but think injuries and possible loss of 2nd seed is too much to overcome?

Mike Sando
  (1:19 PM)

It's feeling like more of a transitional year now that the team has changed quarterbacks and suffered injuries. The Justin Smith injury is big. I think that one could be a game-changer for the defense and something that makes a Super Bowl run significantly less likely. Just think how important he was against the Saints last year.

Joker (SD)

Mike what is the first order of business for the 49ers to resume their winning ways. Also what merit do we now give to the pattern of WWL or WWT?

Mike Sando
  (1:20 PM)

Playing Brian Hoyer at home instead of Russell Wilson on the road is a good place to start.

Sean (Colorado)

Mike, the Niners defense has looked hugely ineffective since Justin Smith left with the elbow injury versus the Pats. Are the 73 points allowed in 6-7 quarters a fluke, the result of playing hot offensive teams or a legitimate concern going forward?

Mike Sando
  (1:21 PM)

I don't think it's a fluke. I do think it has something to do with facing Tom Brady and then a scorching hot Seahawks team. But that Justin Smith injury is going to be a factor.

Jeff (A Seattle Cubical)

Seahawks have drafted well, and have a fair number of players on low $ contracts. What happens in a couple years when these guys are all up for new contracts?

Mike Sando
  (1:22 PM)

The best ones probably get new deals and if the good drafting continues, there will be good young players ready to replace the ones that get away.

Chris (Vista)

Has there been any information received regarding Justin Smith and Vernon Davis' injuries? Will they be available for Sundays game?

Mike Sando
  (1:23 PM)

Matt Barrows just reported that Justin Smith has a partially torn triceps. Cannot imagine him playing in a game the 49ers want to win but don't absolutely have to win. Might be best to hold out Davis as well.

Brandon (Pullman, WA)

Will the CLink nullify Jeff Fisher's divisional voodoo magic this Sunday?

Mike Sando
  (1:26 PM)

I do think Seattle will win the game because the Seahawks have improved and the venue will just be icing on the cake.

Supes (Everett, WA)

How was your Christmas holiday?

Mike Sando
  (1:27 PM)

Good, thanks. I just realized, however, that the all-division defense team did not have Aldon Smith on it. Fixing that right now. The what the team was structured didn't leave room for an OLB/DE type. Stop the presses!

Josh (Bellevue)

Who do you think Seattle matches up with better for an away game? Dallas or Washington? An RG3 vs. Russell Wilson would be a huge game...

Mike Sando
  (1:28 PM)

The Seahawks already defeated Dallas. I think that matchup would be ideal because the Cowboys are so hurt on defense. But Seattle would like its chances either way.

Spencer (Seattle)

Justin Smith has a partially torn triceps. Do you know more about that? Does that mean he'll be out longer than was hoped?

Mike Sando
  (1:34 PM)

I think the writing has been on the wall with this injury, and I was not expecting him back quickly. If he could play, he would be playing. I think this makes it tough to come back strong this year.

Anicra (Sando's Place, Sandodia)

Name 4 of your most surprising facts from 2012 season (NFC West)?

Mike Sando
  (1:36 PM)

Russell Wilson appeared on my MVP Watch list. Larry Fitzgerald was pretty ordinary much of the season. The 49ers have hardly used any of their rookies all season. The Rams have a 4-0-1 record in NFC West play.

Ser4ph1m (NorCal)

What are the stats on the Seahawks allowed yardage over the last 5-6 weeks? They've been able to keep teams from scoring but they gave up a lot of yardage to the Niners. Is this sustainable?

Mike Sando
  (1:37 PM)

The 49ers' yardage was irrelevant. The yardage that should be worrisome to the Seahawks is the yardage allowed late in some games while Seattle was protecting leads at Detroit, Miami, even Chicago.

Brandon (Pullman, WA)

Why do you think that Colin Kaepernick looked so good in Foxborough and so bad at the CLink? the game conditions seemed comparable

Mike Sando
  (1:37 PM)

Happens in the NFL. Seattle jumped out quick and the game was out of hand. That made it tougher for Kaepernick.

Rob (Augusta, Ga)

How do you think the Niners or Hawks stack up against the others in the playoffs...Namely Atlanta?

Mike Sando
  (1:40 PM)

Both teams should be able to run the ball against that Falcons defense. That is my first impression. Also think the Seahawks and 49ers could match up decently against the Falcons' passing attack. However, my opinion changes without Justin Smith, and I don't fully trust Seattle's pass defense on the road late in games.

Billy Showbiz (Los Angeles, CA)

Am I the only one who believes that the 49ers looked like a better team with Alex Smith at the helm? Kaepernick is a dynamic player and the offense is scoring more points but it seems that Smith was able to help them dominate time of possession. Believe it or not, Smith also seems to be more of a clutch player than Kaep. What say you?

Mike Sando
  (1:41 PM)

If Kaepernick is the better player, I think that will show up over time in "clutch" situations as it does in other situations. Did you feel the same way while the 49ers held a 31-3 lead at New England? I guess that would be a fair question.

Jim (Albany, Or)

Harbaugh seems to be getting some bad press, I'm curious as to whether he is someone players like playing for, any thoughts?

Mike Sando
  (1:42 PM)

It's all good when you win. I think other coaches are wired better for weathering the losses. That is my impression.

Synonymous Botch (St. Louis)

What is the Rams biggest need? WR or OL?

Mike Sando
  (1:43 PM)

I'd go with the offensive line. They need a starting right tackle, starting guard and possibly a long-term center, depending on Scott Wells' health.

Geordi LaForge (Portland)

Sando love the blog, you do a great job. Do you see the Hawks going with a ground orientated attack this week or are they going to lean heavy on the read-option attack? I think our WRs can make some plays downfield on the Rams DBs who like to take chances.

Mike Sando
  (1:43 PM)

Thanks. I think Seattle will try to take advantage of the Rams' aggressiveness in the secondary. Also think the Seahawks will run the ball at Robert Quinn.

William Riker (Seattle)

Sando I love the run the Hawks are on right now. They have been crushing teams. That being said, however, do you think they could get caught looking past the Rams this week? On paper we should win this game, but inside the NFC West the Rams have been ultra competitive. I think if we get a lead we'll be fine, but if the Rams stick around late I just hope it doesn't come down to another 60 yrd FG.

Mike Sando
  (1:44 PM)

The Rams defeated the Seahawks and picked off Russell Wilson three times. That should get Seattle's attention.

Epic 'Stache (Jeff Fisher's Face)

Sando- I mustache you a question.... Do you think the Rams would be better off with RGIII than Sam Bradford?

Mike Sando
  (1:46 PM)

Yeah, I think they would. But they would not have been better off keeping the second overall choice, selecting Robert Griffin III, dumping Bradford and proceeding without all the picks they landed in the trade with Washington.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Mike, were there any NFC West players that you thought deserved a Pro Bowl selection, but failed to receive one?

Mike Sando
  (1:46 PM)

Richard Sherman, first and foremost.

Supes (Everett, WA)

If RG3 leads the Redskins to a division title... Are the Rams really still telling themselves they'd rather have Bradford and a bunch of draft picks? You've said many times its a QB driven league

Mike Sando
  (1:47 PM)

Getting rid of Bradford would have been impractical based on what the team thought about both QBs, in my view.

Todd (Cloud 9)

We have had the debate in the blog on the Cards and what hole do you try and fill first. What are your thoughts?

Mike Sando
  (1:48 PM)

Quarterback is the only answer to that question. Doesn't mean they have to take a QB in the first round if the right one isn't available to them there, but that has to be the top priority.

Realism (America)

I'm sorry Sando, but Gore did not deserve a pro bowl selection. Alfred Morris had a huge year. Plus the muscle hamster was better than Gore too.

Mike Sando
  (1:50 PM)

Yeah, I could have seen Morris getting the call. I don't think Gore was undeserving, though. He has 1,146 yards rushing and 213 yards receiving. He and Morris are close in total yards. Gore probably benefited from name recognition. But he's playing too well to say he made it on rep.

Matt (Chicago)

Is there a less likeable team than the Seahawks? Coach is a jerk, players are jerks, 5 drug suspensions (oh wait, 4 plus an adderall-laced cup), and their fans think they're the whole reason they're good.

Mike Sando
  (1:51 PM)

They're only annoying if they are beating your team.

Todd (Cloud 9)

Is the league going to do anything to clarify the rule on Defenseless player penalties?

Mike Sando
  (1:53 PM)

The rules are pretty clear. They are just misunderstood.

Thomas ( leavenworth) [via mobile]

Nice slam mike

Mike Sando
  (1:54 PM)

Haha. I mean, Greg Schiano was a lot more annoying with his tactics (vs NYG, for example) when the Bucs were winning. No one talks about him now.

James Kirk (Idaho)

Sando I personally like the Rams chances to win this week. No one has them winning, and you know Jeff Fisher is going to play that up big time with them. I also think in the big picture Fisher is a superior coach to Carroll. After the way the Seahawks have been winning they seem due for a letdown sooner than later. If it doesn't happen this week I really don't see them going past the divisional round ... lack of experience is eventually going to come to haunt Wilson.

Mike Sando
  (1:55 PM)

I also think Fisher is the better coach but Seattle is just a vastly different team offensively this time, while the Rams are still just OK on that side of the ball. I also keep waiting for Russell Wilson to have a bad game. It's been a long wait, though.

John (Bakersfield)

Wow. No love for the Rams even on the NFC West blog. Greg Zuerline for pk as the only choice? I would say Feeley in AZ actually had a better year, but not one Ram at a position? How did they win 7 games with all bums on the field all the time?

Mike Sando
  (1:56 PM)

No bums. Good coaching. They have some good players but when you match them up position by position, you don't see clear choices for the Rams.

Craig (Massachusetts)

Has Kam Chancellor regressed this year or did the competition get stiffer for SS?

Mike Sando
  (1:57 PM)

I thought he had regressed some but he was banged up too. The last couple games, he has been back to his old form.

Kurt (AZ) [via mobile]

Now I remember why I don't read this chat...Seahawks start winning and Sando the Seahawks fan rears his ugly head...

Mike Sando
  (1:58 PM)

I am positive/negative toward teams based on how they are doing. Sorry, not much positive to say about the Cardinals.

Montgomery Scott (UK)

Sando do you think an argument can be made that Michael Brockers may be the best young DT in the NFC West? He has been playing quite well in recent weeks, and it looks like just another Fisher/Snead draft hit.

Mike Sando
  (2:00 PM)

Yes, I would say Michael Brockers is the best young defensive tackle in the division. Dan Williams can be good in Arizona but I think Brockers is looking like more of an impact player.

Mike Sando
  (2:01 PM)

Thanks for dropping by the NFC West chat. Lots of stuff to get to on the blog.