We’re approximately at the halfway point of the 2014 season, and while there have been plenty of surprises around the league, one of the most interesting subplots have surfaced in the NFC West, where the 6-1 Cardinals have a two-game lead over the 49ers and the Super Bowl champion Seahawks, both of whom are 4-3.
Because at least one club has to represent the underachieving NFC South, and the East and North each feature two strong contenders, the Seahawks and Niners would both be left on the outside looking in if the postseason were to begin today. Of course, with nine games still to come, including some against the Cardinals, each team will have a chance to go on a run and earn a postseason berth.
The Seahawks, who were viewed as the Super Bowl favorite coming into the season, have the opportunity to go on a winning streak over the next few weeks, with three of their next four games at home, including contests against the Raiders and Giants. But reports about locker room discontent have swirled around the team all season, even following the unexpected departure of Percy Harvin, and the club certainly isn’t playing like the team that blew out the Broncos nearly nine months ago.
As for the Niners, who have appeared in the last three NFC Championship games, the team is expected to welcome back key defenders like Aldon Smith and perhaps NaVorro Bowman within the next few weeks. However, San Francisco’s offense has struggled with its consistency, and the team has looming road games in New Orleans and Seattle, as well as tough home tests against the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Chargers.
What do you think? Will the Seahawks and/or Niners mount a second-half charge and make the playoffs? Will a current contender, whether it’s the Cardinals, Cowboys, Eagles, Lions, or Packers, fall off and let either Seattle or San Francisco sneak in? Weigh in below, and feel free to expand on your vote in the comments section.