Team identities: NFC West


Four weeks of the season is enough time to get a read on what each team is known for. Around The NFL will look at the identity for all 32 teams after the first month of the season.

Cardinals coaching staff stands apart

Arizona is one of just two teams without a loss at the season's quarter pole. That's quite a feat for an outfit relying on a backup quarterback and trying to replace three of the top five players on a defense that paced the NFL against the run last year. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has brought out the smoke and mirrors, continuing to stonewall running backs while using three and four safeties at a time to confuse opposing aerial attacks. In Bruce Arians we trust.

Seahawks still Super Bowl favorites

We didn't expect Pete Carroll's troops to roll through the season as an undefeated juggernaut. The Chargers unfurled the perfect blueprint to upset the Super Bowl champs outside of Seattle. Outside of that aberration and a one-minute span versus the Broncos, the Seahawks have been the cream of the NFC crop. They are one of the few NFL superpowers and the favorite in the NFC West.

Dissension in San Francisco

An offseason pockmarked with off-the-field incidents and contract squabbles has spilled over to the regular season, as players are beginning to squirm under Jim Harbaugh's thumb. As long as Harbaugh's San Francisco future remains unresolved, the locker-room drama threatens to sabotage the season. This team is still talented enough to return to the postseason as long as they don't tune Harbaugh out altogether.

Rams define mediocrity

Nobody does extended mediocrity like the St. Louis Rams. They have posted seven wins in three of the past four seasons and are headed down that road again in 2014. It's not just the loss of starting quarterback Sam Bradford, as third-stringer Austin Davis has fared surprisingly well in his first two career starts. Rookie Aaron Donald has been the lone standout on a defense that ranks last in the league in sacks after finishing third in 2013.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews "Thursday Night Football" and discusses the biggest surprises in the season's first quarter. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL Now.