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NFL 2013: NFC West Midseason Report Card

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Every team in the National Football League has now played at least eight games this season.

Hence let's take a look at each club in the NFL and how they've performed at the halfway point (or slightly more in some instances).

We'll take some time this week to see what each team has done well this season, what improvement(s) need to be made and assign a grade to each club based on performance and combined with expectations. And to make things easy, we will do it on a divisional basis.

After evaluating the AFC East, AFC North and NFC South, it's time to check out the NFC West.

And as always, feel free to give out your own grade(s) as well…

Seattle Seahawks (8-1)

Nice Work: The ability to win on the road, no matter the final statistics, makes Pete Carroll's club very dangerous, especially when the game plan includes workhorse running back Marshawn Lynch. Including the 2012 postseason, the Seahawks are 7-2 in their last nine road games dating back to last season, including 4-1 this year. Last season, Seattle dropped five of its first six contests away from home.

Needs Work: Only the Houston Texans have allowed fewer total yards per game this season. However, Carroll's club has looked very vulnerable vs. the run and especially the last two weeks, when they gave up a combined 405 yards on the ground to the St. Louis Rams (200) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (205). And while pass protection has been an issue as well, that could be rectified once Seattle's starting tackles are healthy…

Grade: A

San Francisco 49ers (6-2)

Nice Work: That two-game losing streak to the Seattle Seahawks (29-3) and Indianapolis Colts (27-7) was obviously just a burp for Jim Harbaugh's talented club. The Niners have won five games in a row, scoring 31 or more points in each contest, and San Francisco now boasts the league's top running game. And after giving up 84 points during the team's 1-2 start, Harbaugh's squad has allowed a combined 61 points in their last five outings…

Needs Work: Simply put, it is wide receiver Michael Crabtree. And the work mentioned is in reference to the productive pass-catcher getting back on the football field. Last season's team leader in receptions during both the regular season and playoffs has been sidelined with an Achilles injury since May but has now been cleared to practice, according to this report from's Dan Hanzus. And that's good news for talented but young quarterback Colin Kaepernick…

Grade: A-

Arizona Cardinals (4-4)

Nice Work: It was going to be interesting to see how the underrated Arizona defense would adjust to new coordinator Todd Bowles but this unit continues to make its presence felt. The pass rush is back on track now that inside linebacker Daryl Washington has been back. And just as was the case last season when the team came away with 33 takeaways, the Cardinals are amongst the league leaders in forcing turnovers (19) once again…

Needs Work: Despite rolling up 201 yards rushing in their last outing, a 27-13 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, the Cardinals still rank 24th in the NFL when it comes to running the football. It also hasn't helped that veteran quarterback Carson Palmer, while a positive for wideout Larry Fitzgerald, continues to turn over the football (15 in 8 games) with alarming regularity…

Grade: B

St. Louis Rams (3-6)

Nice Work: When he was healthy, quarterback Sam Bradford showed that he was continuing to make strides following a respectable 2012 season. In his seven appearances this season, the former number-one overall pick totaled 14 touchdown passes and only four interceptions. And all of this came without a major contribution from rookie first-round wideout Tavon Austin to date…

Needs Work: Fortunately for the Rams, they may have finally discovered a running game thanks to rookie Zac Stacy, who's totaled 53 carries for 261 yards and two scores the last two games. But given the team's talent on the defensive front and linebacker, it's disappointing that the team is ranked just 28th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game. And that's extremely bad news in the run-heavy NFC West…

Grade: C-

Russell S. Baxter has been covering the NFL for 30-plus years on all platforms. He is the founder of, writes for numerous websites and publications across the country and is blessed with an encyclopedic memory. Ready to talk NFL? Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.

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