Monday, December 26, 2005

Eyes of history are on NFC West

With one game left in the regular season, the Seattle Seahawks are slumped against the door jamb of history. If Seattle beats Green Bay next weekend and if the other three teams in its division all lose, the Seahwaks will finish the season with more wins than the rest of their division combined. NFC West standings after Week 16:

Rams 510
49ers 312

The whole division is really going to have to pull together, but they can do this. Arizona stands a good chance of losing to the Colts' third-stringers this weekend. The Rams are facing a desperate Dallas team. And if the 49ers step up their game, they can lose the Reggie Bush Bowl to the Texans.

Should all the pieces fall into place, the 2005 NFC West will have done something only two other divisions have done in all NFL-AFL history, and it will be the first division to have done it over a 16-game season. The others accomplished it in 14-game seasons:

Rams 122
49ers 59
Saints 212

Broncos 311

The 1962 AFL West came close to repeating the feat. The division leader in '62 was the Texans (the Dallas Texans, the precursor to the Kansas City Chiefs), who had a record of 11-3. The Broncos went 6-7; the Chargers, 4-9; and the Raiders, 1-13. So the Texans had the same number of wins as the rest of the division combined, which is where Seattle stands now. The most recent division to make a run at this mark was the 2002 NFC North. That year, the Packers finished at 12-4, the Vikings at 6-10, the Bears at 4-12 and the Lions at 3-13. The Vikings and Lions played each other on the final weekend, and Minnesota won, 38-36. Had those two teams just used their heads, they could have ended the game in a tie and earned a little bit of fame for themselves. But they were too "good" for that.

So this is what's on the line this week for the teams in the NFC West. The Cards, Rams and Niners have nothing to play for except "pride." But if they had any pride, they wouldn't be 5-10 and 3-12, would they? They need to go out there and get their asses kicked. For history's sake.

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