ESPN insider: NFC West is ‘unique division’

Sep 21, 2012, 12:10 AM | Updated: 6:09 pm

Long thought to be the proverbial punching bag of the National Football League, the NFC West division is starting to turn heads, especially after a 4-0 performance in Week 2.

Heading into Week 3, there are only six remaining undefeated teams. The NFL West is the only division to boast two of them — the 49ers and Cardinals.

ESPN senior NFL analyst John Clayton appeared on Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Show on Thursday, and believes that while most probably aren’t buying the division’s staying power among the league’s elite, times are certainly changing.

“This is a very unique division, because it is kind of an old school division,” Clayton said. “What I think people don’t understand is that Arizona has a very good defense. Seattle has a very good defense. And we know the 49ers might have the best defense in football right now. These teams are going to be in games.”

As a division, the four squads are off to a quick 6-2 start. But all that could change with tough NFC foes on the docket this weekend. In addition to the Cardinals clash with the Eagles on Sunday, the Seahawks entertain the Packers, while the 49ers and Rams head up north to face off against the Vikings and Bears, respectively.

While the rise of the NFC West is a good thing competitive-wise for teams within the division, Clayton says it also has allowed the NFC to move well in front of the AFC as the best conference in football.

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ESPN insider: NFC West is ‘unique division’