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NFC West roundup: The division rivals remain undefeated

Coming into the 2020 NFL regular season, most experts agreed that the NFC West is the best division in football. Through the first two weeks, that sentiment is holding true. The San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, and Los Angeles Rams are a combined 7-1, far and away the best-combined total of any division.

San Francisco is decimated by injuries going into next week’s game against the New York Giants. The Niners need their role players to step up over the next three weeks while they await the return of key contributors George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo, Richard Sherman, and Raheem Mostert, who all should be back in the lineup before the pivotal Week 6 matchup against the Rams.

Let’s take a look at how the 49ers’ divisional rivals did in Week 2.

Seattle Seahawks (2-0) defeated the New England Patriots 35-30:

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been dominant over the first two games. The Hobbit threw for 288 yards and five touchdowns against the Pats, finishing the game with a 132.1 rating. Wilson is fifth in the NFL, averaging 305 passing yards through the first two contests, and leads the NFL with a 90.9 QBR. Receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett have combined for 346 yards and three scores through Week 2.

Seattle’s defense has struggled so far, but not enough to cost the team in the standings. The Seahawks’ defense ranks dead-last in the NFL, giving up 485 yards per game.

Next three games: vs. Dallas Cowboys, @ Miami Dolphins, vs. Minnesota Vikings

Arizona Cardinals (2-0) defeated the Washington Football Team 30-15:

Another dual-threat QB has wreaked havoc against opponents over the first two games. Second-year pro Kyler Murray ran for 91 yards against the Niners in Week 1 and followed that up with 67 rushing yards and two scores against Washington. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins has come as advertised, putting up 219 yards and a touchdown through two weeks. The Cardinals are sixth in total offense and fifth in rushing yards per game at 170.0. Even though the offense seems to be clicking, Football Outsiders hasn’t been too impressed, ranking Arizona No. 22 in offensive DVOA.

The Cardinals’ defense is giving up 341 yards per game and has 7 sacks through Week 2. Arizona will benefit from a soft schedule early in the year and could very well be undefeated through the first five weeks.

Next three games: vs. Detroit Lions, @ Carolina Panthers, @ New York Jets

Los Angeles Rams (2-0) defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 37-19:

The Rams have been impressive through two weeks. The 2018 NFC Champions were supposed to take a step back after purging a ton of players from its roster, but head coach Sean McVay has his squad rolling.

Quarterback Jared Goff has completed 69% of his passes and thrown for three touchdowns through the first two games. The Rams’ rushing attack has been deadly so far, ranking third in the NFL at 172 yards per game. L.A.’s running back by committee has been successful with Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown, each contributing to the rushing attack. Football Outsiders has the Rams ranked No. 3 in offensive DVOA, with the unit averaging 435.5 yards per game.

The defense is in the middle of the pack, but with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey leading the way, L.A. has two of the best defensive playmakers in the game. The Rams have a tough matchup this week when they hit the road to take on the 2-0 Buffalo Bills.

Next three games: @ Buffalo Bills, vs. New York Giants, @ Washington Football Team

Which of the 49ers’ divisional rivals will lose first?

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