By: Kevin Garber
Welcome back to our NFC West watch. Here’s what is on tap for Week 5:
St. Louis Rams @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are coming off a no-show offensive game in week 4 against the 49ers, but one in which their special teams and defense looked Super Bowl caliber. The Rams on the other hand are 1-2 after giving up a win against the Cowboys before their bye week.
On the bright side for the Rams, they are getting back their week 1 starting quarterback! On the down side, that QB is Shaun Hill, who last took relevant snaps in 2010. At this point in the season it is hard to know what to think of St. Louis. Their defense has plenty of talent, but performance has been inconsistent. Zach Stacy and the O-Line have shown quality at times, but as a team they have just been unable to put it all together at any point.
The Eagles on the other hand are coming off of a pathetic offensive performance against the 49ers last week, coughing up the game despite early success and really stellar play by their defense and special teams. Chip Kelly’s offense sputtered to start last year too, but they will need to make a showing if they are going to have a hope of playing in January this year.
Arizona Cardinals @ Denver Broncos
The undefeated Cardinals are looking to keep momentum rolling this week following their bye, but in their way is a Peyton Manning led Denver Bronco squad that 2-1 with their only loss coming against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks.
Despite losing a ton of talent off their front 7, the Cardinals are once again among the top defenses in the league. Drew Stanton continues to play adequately enough to not get in the way of the rest of the team carrying him. How long can they keep this up? We’ll see.
The Broncos on the other hand ride a 2-1 record built off a potent passing attack, but nothing else exceptional so far. However, there has been an unquestionable talent upgrade on the defense over the offseason and at some point that has to show this season, Doesn’t it?
Kansas City Chiefs @ Santa Clara 49ers
Following a coming out party for Alex Smith that was cut short due to injury in 2012, the 49ers cut ties with Alex Smith, who went on the lead the Chiefs to the playoffs last season.
In this matchup against his former team, in which both teams are looking to move over .500 on the season, Smith will be down one of his top receivers in Donnie Avery who is having surgery on a sports hernia. However, Dwayne Bowe and emerging quality TE enough Jamaal Charles and Kniles Davis providing fresh legs and you have what is shaping up to be a potent Chiefs offense again.
The 49ers are looking to build on actually having scored in the second half of a game, but for anyone who watched the Eagles offense was putrid all day and it ended up feeling much more like a game the Eagles lost than the 49ers won. That being said, by the numbers the Santa Clara defense is among the upper echelon in the league, and between Hyde, Gore, and Kaepernick their rush offense cannot be sold short.