NFC West Week 16 In Review: Can anyone stop the Seahawks?

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle's thumping of the division leading 49ers on Sunday night put the Seahawks on the national map, at last, and in position to steal the division title away.

That noise you hear coming from the upper left corner of the U.S.A.? That would be Seahawks fans still roaring from a 42-13 pounding of the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night on NBC. It was everything the Seahawks wanted and everything they could have asked for for Christmas -- another great all-around game from rookie quarterback Russell Wilson (who deserves to be NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year, forget RG3), another smothering team defensive performance featuring another defensive touchdown and another big game for Beast Mode, Marshawn Lynch.

The Seahawks clinched an NFC playoff spot and now, with a win over the Rams at the madhouse that is CenturyLink Field on Sunday and a minor miracle, as in an Arizona Cardinals win over the 49ers in the Bay, Seattle is the NFC West champ. The most likely scenario is a Seahawks win and a 49ers win over the lowly Cardinals. But consider these factors before writing off Arizona in that game:

1. The Cardinals defense can keep the game close.

2. The 49ers probably don't have much film on Cards quarterback Brian Hoyer.

3. The 49ers defense, with or without defensive end Justin Smith, has taken a beating the last two games. New England almost came all the way back two weeks ago and the Seahawks were in control from the start Sunday night.

4. Niners QB Colin Kaepernick can play, but he's now in a pressure situation this week with a division title on the line.

5. Remember when a bad Cardinals team stunned the Minnesota Vikings in the last game of the regular season, knocking them out of the playoffs and opening the door for the Green Bay Packers to get in? That was in 2003. Poole caught a last-minute TD pass from Josh McCown for a Cardinals win. Poole was treated like royalty in Green Bay the following week, as the Packers flew him out to Wisconsin and feted him all over town.

The Rams can finish above .500 with a win in Seattle, but that doesn't seem to likely. The Cardinals are shooting for a 6-10 season, and if they do it, Seahawks fans will gladly thank them for the effort.

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