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49ers Come Out Of Bye Week Further Ahead, A Look At The NFC West

The San Francisco 49ers have spent the last week resting, recovering and generally trying to maintain all momentum they had coming into it after beating the previously-unbeeaten Detroit Lions. Coming into this bye week, they are 5-1 and sitting atop the NFC West division. Coming out of this bye week, they remain at 5-1, but they've increased their lead due to the failures of the rest of the division.

Next, the 49ers will take on the Cleveland Browns at home, and hopefully will be rested and healed. Wide receiver Braylon Edwards expects to be back, and for them, that's huge. They're already got their eyes on the NFC West crown and, more pointedly, a 6-1 record after this coming Sunday. With the second-place team in the division sporting a 2-4 record, the 49ers are riding a great high right now. Let's take a look at where the rest of the teams are at.

Seattle Seahawks

There's a quarterback controversy, or at least, it looked like there might be before Sunday's game against the Browns. Tarvaris Jackson was out with a pectoral injury, which occurred right about the time that Seattle fans started calling for Charlie Whitehurst to get the start, mostly due in part for his comeback heroics against the New York Giants. Jackson ended up being out with injury regardless, and Whitehurst couldn't even get past the century mark in passing on the day, and didn't have a touchdown.

So now that Whitehurst proved, once again, that he's not the answer for the Seahawks, they're likely back to a healthy Jackson starting at quarterback, looking ahead to a remaining schedule that includes the Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears. They've got a better chance for a win next week, when they'll take on the Cincinnati Bengals, but sitting at 2-4, they've still got a long way to go to make it to the top of the NFC West and unseat the 49ers.

Arizona Cardinals

After an offseason trade for quarterback Kevin Kolb, most felt that the Cardinals were going to look a lot better this year than they did last year. Unfortunately, Kolb hasn't been very good, though he hasn't been putting up throwaway numbers every game. He always seems to get decent yardage and a touchdown or two, but can't score in the redzone when it's needed and definitely cannot lead the team in a comeback victory with the clock running out. The fact that they don't really have much of a running game hasn't helped, either.

Rookie first-round pick Patrick Peterson hasn't looked nearly as NFL-ready as advertised, having been burnt quite a few times this season. The defense gets scored on with regularity and, though they seem to play a lot better than the Seahawks, they're sitting at 1-5 with no relief in sight. For a team led by "The Whiz", they're getting more than out-played, they're getting out-coached. Larry Fitzgerald seems to be the only aspect of the team that's really working, and already has a slew of highlight reel catches this year. But he can't do it alone.

Arizona hits the road in its next game to take on the very tough Baltimore Ravens, and their remaining schedule includes games against the Dallas Cowboys and both games against the 49ers.

St. Louis Rams

Labeled as the offseason- and preseason-favorite to win the division along with the 49ers, the Rams were very much supposed to be on the up-and-up. They drafted a young quarterback who appeared to be a winner in Sam Bradford, and spent some picks in the 2011 NFL Draft on some wide receivers in Greg Salas and Austin Pettis. Their strong defense would only improve with Robert Quinn coming in as the team's first-round pick, and Steve Spagnuolo was on his way to really turning this franchise around.

But now they're sitting with an 0-6 record and really, nothing is working. They're last in the league in points-per-game and 28th in total yardage. The New Orleans Saints scored more points on Sunday night than the Rams have all season long. They're getting massacred on offense and the defense looks like it's not even being coached at times - Spagnuolo has some serious detractors at this point. Bradford is throwing picks and the injury bug has been biting them all season.

The Rams have games against the Saints and the Pittsburgh Steelers remaining, as well as both games against the 49ers. Next week, they've got that game against the Saints, who just put up 62 points on the Colts, at home.