As they do every week, a panel of six ESPN experts picked all the weekend matchups. In addition to the human element, ESPN included its Accuscore prediction, a computer simulation of the weekend games, and the fan vote. Add them all up and you get 10 opinions of the NFL action for the week.
The San Fransisco 49ers, hosting division rival St. Louis, are heavily favored in the picks. All six ESPN pickers, as well as Accuscore and the fans, chose the 49ers to knock off the St. Louis Rams in San Fransisco on Sunday. Both teams are coming off wins — San Fransisco over Denver in London and St. Louis over Carolina — and should be well-rested coming out of the bye week. The Rams are young and have struggled away from home, leading many to wonder whether playing on the road will rattle them.
The panel was decidedly more split when choosing between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. Four of the pickers — Ron Jaworski, Merril Hodge, Mike Golic and Eric Allen — chose the Seahawks. The other four picked the Cardinals to roll at home. Accuscore and the fans chose the Cardinals, as well.
All four NFC West teams are in action this week, squaring off in intra-divisional matchups on Sunday. The Seattle Seahawks travel to Arizona to take on the Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams travel to the Bay Area to take on the San Fransisco 49ers in games that should start to sort-out the logjam that is the NFC West. The Seahawks and Rams sit atop the division heading into the weekend, with the Cardinals nipping at their heels. Need early picks for the games? We've got that covered.
CBS Sports took an early look at the weekend matchups and made a few predictions. The St. Louis Rams, currently the darling of the NFC West, face a 49ers team that's suddenly come to life. The Rams have struggled on the road this year, which may explain why four of the five CBS experts chose the Rams.
The Seahawks stumble into Arizona to take on the Cardinals after two non-competitive games against the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants. The Hawks continue to struggle with injuries and consistency in what's been an up-and-down season. On the road, dealing with injuries and slumping terribly in the last game, the Seahawks are unanimous underdogs, according to CBS Sports. All five experts chose the Cardinals, who have struggles of their own at the quarterback spot. Looks like a pillow-fight in the making this weekend.
Check back all week for update picks and predictions ahead of the weekend matchups.