The NFC West will be active all at once come Sunday afternoon at 3:15—the first-place Seattle Seahawks will visit the Arizona Cardinals with Matt Hasselbeck medically cleared to return while the St. Louis Rams take on the last-place San Francisco 49ers.
Both teams are struggling with quarterback issues. The Cardinals have bounced between Derek Anderson and Max Hall all year—they’ve settled on Anderson, but only out of necessity. Larry Fitzgerald, stuck on four touchdowns after leading the NFL two seasons in a row with 12 and 13, has learned just how difficult life can be without Kurt Warner under center.
The Seahawks are dealing with the extended decline of Matt Hasselbeck, their starter since 2001. He’s 135-for-236 for 1411 yards, six touchdowns, and seven interceptions in 2010. But they discovered just how difficult life might be without him under center when backup Charlie Whitehurst was forced into the limelight after Hasselbeck, injured, couldn’t go. Whitehurst, making his first start since 2006, went 12-for-23 with 113 yards and two interceptions.
A Seahawks win would make sure they kept pace with the Rams, who could also move to 5-4 with a win; a Cardinals win and a Rams loss would leave the division knotted three ways at 4-5, with the 49ers a step behind at 3-6. Parity indeed.