Now that the San Francisco 49ers have established their dominance over most of the rest of the league, it's time to put away their division.

Now that the San Francisco 49ers have established their dominance over most of the rest of the league, it's time to put away their division.

The first step in what could be a very early clinching of the NFC West comes today at home against Arizona. The 49ers have built their 8-1 record, second only to Green Bay's perfect 9-0, with only one win in the division, beating Seattle in the season opener. Now San Francisco gets a hefty dose of NFC West foes, a good thing considering the rest of the division is 8-19.

The 49ers have won the last four meetings with the Cardinals, who were held to 13 total points in the two games last season. And those Niners weren't anything like these Niners under rookie coach Jim Harbaugh.

"This is not a trap game for us. This is a rivalry game," left tackle Joe Staley said. "We expect the best effort out of them. It's always a very physical game regardless of records. We came into their place when they went to the Super Bowl that year (2008), went to their house and beat them. We had a bad record that year."

Indeed, San Francisco went 7-9 then; it already has surpassed that victory total.

The Cardinals have shown some progress recently and won their last two by excelling — or getting lucky — down the stretch.

"I'm not going to say that we are 100 percent there or that we are very proficient at it now," coach Ken Whisenhunt said, "but it's nice to have been able to make the plays, move the ball, and score touchdowns in a situation where we needed to do that."

Seattle (3-6) at St. Louis (2-7)

On the final weekend of the 2010 season, these "powerhouses" met for the division title. The Seahawks got the prize, at 7-9, then somehow stunned New Orleans in the first round of the playoffs.

Neither team is thinking playoffs right now. Seattle comes off an energizing upset of Baltimore and has seen RB Marshawn Lynch break out.

Cincinnati (6-3)at Baltimore (6-3)

The winner will be tied with idle Pittsburgh atop the NFC North, but this is much more of a statement game for Cincinnati, whose six victories are against teams with a combined 22-36 record.

Baltimore will be angry with itself after following a comeback win at Pittsburgh with a dud in Seattle.

Tampa Bay (4-5)at Green Bay (9-0)

This one could get ugly judging by the way each team is playing.

Tampa has lost three straight and four of five. It ranks at the bottom of the NFC in red-zone offense, which the Packers top. The Bucs have 13 sacks, and not getting pressure on Aaron Rodgers is suicidal.

San Diego (4-5) at Chicago (6-3)

If Chicago was going to get into a brawl with the opposing quarterback, it figured to be this weekend, not against Matthew Stafford and Detroit, as happened in the Bears' rout of the Lions.

San Diego's Philip Rivers and Chicago's Jay Cutler have a nasty history with each other, although both downplay it now.

Tennessee (5-4) at Atlanta (5-4)

Two more teams who need to be thinking wild card as they trail by two games in their divisions.

The Titans manhandled Cam Newton and Carolina on the road last week, coming up with a season-high five sacks, forcing two turnovers and allowing a season-low in points in the 30-3 victory. They did it with three rookies starting.

Carolina (2-7) at Detroit (6-3)

Carolina has won the last four meetings, but the Panthers come off their worst performance all season in that home loss to Tennessee. They might match up decently with slumping Detroit because the Panthers can run the ball and the Lions struggle to stop it.

Philadelphia (3-6)at N.Y. Giants (6-3)

What looked like a juicy NFC East matchup for the division lead when the schedule came out has lost much luster as the Eagles disintegrate. If they can replicate their last visit to the Giants, when DeSean Jackson capped their fourth-quarter rally from a 21-point hole with a 65-yard punt return TD on the final play, maybe they can get things turned around. But Jackson was suspended for last Sunday's home loss to Arizona, and Michael Vick is nursing broken ribs.

Dallas (5-4) at Washington (3-6)

Tony Romo is 17-2 in November and, considering how anemic and banged-up Washington's offense is, he might not need many points to get the Cowboys their third straight victory and fourth in five games. Dallas has won five of the last six against the Redskins, who have gone back to Rex Grossman at quarterback and are using backups at far too many positions.

Oakland (5-4) at Minnesota (2-7)

In his fourth game and third start, Carson Palmer should be more comfortable running Oakland's offense, although he likely won't have top running back Darren McFadden (sprained right foot). It didn't matter in the Raiders' victory over San Diego as Michael Bush rushed for 157 yards and caught three passes for 85 yards, the most productive day from scrimmage for a Raider since 1963.

Buffalo (5-4) at Miami (2-7)

Nothing is coming easy for the Bills anymore. Their 3-0 start has turned into a mad scramble to remain relevant in the AFC playoff race. They've played very poorly the last two weeks, when Miami was winning for the first and second time.

Jacksonville (3-6)at Cleveland (3-6)

You know things are going dead wrong when your long snapper, in this case Ryan Pontbriand, has his snap on a short field goal attempt to beat St. Louis deflect off left guard Alex Mack's right foot. The reliable Phil Dawson's timing was thrown off and Cleveland lost its third straight, 13-12.

Kansas City (4-5)at New England (6-3)Monday night

New England might have set things back on the usual course in the AFC East when it handed the Jets a prime-time whipping. All of the Patriots' issues on defense disappeared for one night as end Andre Carter got a franchise-high 41/2; sacks, LB Rob Ninkovich had two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, and New England made Mark Sanchez and the Jets look amateurish.