Not only are the San Francisco 49ers atop the NFC West as far as overall record, all three phases have kept them in every game and rank them in the middle of the pack offensively (16th) and defensively (17th). A bounce of the ball here and a missed tackle there really separates these teams. The last 10 weeks will make for some exciting time within the NFC West division.

The name of the game is to win, but in order to win you must find a way to outscore your opponent and as of Week 8, there are nine teams in 2011 that are averaging at least 25 points per game. The fifth-ranked team happens to be 49ers.

New Orleans Saints 34.1

Green Bay Packers 32.9

Buffalo Bills 31.3

New England Patriots30.8

San Francisco 49ers 27.8

Detroit Lions 27.7

Houston Texans 26.0

Baltimore Ravens 25.8

New York Giants 25.7

While the Rams have a 0-6 record, when I did an analysis on the numbers, these four teams are not far apart. Let’s compare the numbers across the board for the Rams, San Francisco, Arizona and Seattle.

Let’s take a look at team rankings NFL:

Arizona – Offense 17th (24th rushing, 14th passing). Defense 26th (13th rushing 28th passing).

San Francisco – Offense 27th (6th rushing, 31st passing). Defense 11th (2nd rushing 22nd passing).

Seattle – Offense 31st (31st rushing, 28th passing). Defense 15th (10th rushing 20th passing)

St. Louis – Offense 28th (26th rushing, 23rd passing). Defense 29th (32nd rushing 13th passing).

When I look at the Red Zone numbers the percentages are not much different:

Offense

Seattle 10th; 7 TD – 53.8%

Arizona 13th; 9 TD – 52.9%

San Francisco 17th; 11 TD – 50.0%

St. Louis 32nd; 4 TD – 28.6%

Defense

San Francisco – 1st; 6 TD 31.6%

Seattle – 9th; 8TD 44.%

Arizona – 17th; 12 TD 52.2%

St. Louis – 23rd; 10TD 58.8%

The interesting statistic falls under the special teams totals, which tells you a lot about a team’s aggressiveness, coverage units, and return production.

Punt return average

Arizona 2nd

San Francisco 5th

Seattle 8th

St. Louis 17th

Kickoff return average

Arizona 10th

San Francisco 1st

Seattle 28th

St. Louis 25th

The category that means the most is the overall standings within the division (San Francisco 5-1, Seattle 2-4, Arizona 1-5 and St. Louis 0-6). The goal of every team is first win the division, which automatically puts you in the playoffs. It has been a draught for San Francisco and St. Louis.

Coach Jim Harbaugh has brought to the 49ers discipline, direction, a sense of togetherness as a player’s coach and it works for that team. They have played well both at home and on the road. While they have several weeks before they are are crowned the divisional champions, there is a lot of football remaining.