Are you ready for some football, I know I am. It’s been a long time over for the NFL and we have seen a lot of changes happen, but let’s see what big changes will affect the NFC West and where each team will finish?
Last year, we expected to see a more competitive division with all the additions that the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers made.
The Rams were good enough to make it to the Superbowl. The Niners added their future franchise quarterback, but struggled to win games when he went down with an injury.
The Seattle Seahawks continued their winning ways making it back to the playoffs, but this year might be a little different. And the Arizona Cardinals, while, I’m not sure where to start with their recap from last season, but we will definitely see a huge change in their team this year.
So where does every team finish in the NFC West division?
1. Los Angeles Rams:
Last season’s record: 12-4
Lost in Super Bowl (13-3) to the New England Patriots
- OLB Clay Matthews (Green Bay)
- S Eric Weddle (Baltimore)
- QB Blake Bortles (Traded from Jacksonville)
- RB Malcolm Brown
- DE Dante Fowler Jr.
- S Taylor Rapp (61st)
- RB Darrell Henderson (70th)
- CB David Long (79th)
- T Bobby Evans (97th)
- DT Greg Gaines (134th)
- S LaMarcus Joyner (Oakland)
- S Blake Countess (Philadelphia)
- G Rodger Saffold (Tennessee)
- ILB Mark Barron (Pittsburgh)
- DT Ndamukong Suh (Tampa Bay)
- RB C.J. Anderson (Detriot)
- QB Sean Mannion (Minnesota)
The Big Question:
What do the Rams need to do to make it back to the Superbowl? What’s the health of Todd Gurley really? Since Coach Sean McVay came onto the coaching scene, he has made the Rams team into one of the most explosive offenses. They have finished the year in the top three in scoring.
A lot of that is due to the offensive scheme that he runs with QB Jared Goff, RB Todd Gurley, and the trio of WRs Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp. Goff looks like a Pro-Bowl QB with this guy’s even though, we know he’s not. But the question of Gurley’s health is what will affect the Rams offense the most.
With a healthy Malcolm Brown and signed rookie Darrell Henderson, the Rams could look to use a three back rotation this season. But that shouldn’t stop them from finishing first in the division as they are the most complete team in the NFC West.
2. Seattle Seahawks:
Last season’s record: 10-6
Postseason Result: Lost to the Dallas Cowboys (24-22) in Wild Card round.
LB K.J. Wright
LB Emmanuel Ellerbe
WR David Moore
K Jason Myers (New York Jets)
G Mike Iupati (Arizona)
DE Ezekiel Ansah (Detriot)
QBs Paxton Lynch and Geno Smith
- DE L.J. Collier (29th)
- S Marquise Blair (47th)
- LB Cody Barton (88th)
- WR D.K. Metcalf (64th)
- WR John Ursula
- LB Ben Burr-Kirven (142th)
- Trade DE Frank Clark (Kansas City)
- S Earl Thomas (Seattle)
- CB Justin Coleman (Detroit)
- OLB Nate Orchard (Miami)
- DT Shamar Stephen (Minnesota)
- G J.R. Sweezy (Arizona)
- Retired K Sebastian Janikowski
- Released WR Doug Baldwin and S Kam Chancellor
The Big Question:
How can the Seattle Seahawks make the playoffs again? Will they have a strong defense or will it need to be the offense (Russell Wilson) doing all the work? Which pass catchers will step up with Doug Baldwin gone?
The Seahawks are known as a run-heavy team and we should expect both RBs Chris Carson and Rashad Penny to get a lot of carries this year.
But my concern is with the WRs and who is available for QB Russell Wilson to throw to.
We know that Tyler Lockett will be the primary receiver and we should expect both Carson and Penny to play a role in the passing game as well. But how about the rookie WRs D.K. Metcalf and John Ursula?
Metcalf has shown some strides to be a top option, and he’ll need to be with David Moore likely injured for most of the season. Ursula will likely be used in the role that Lockett was when he first came on with the Seahawks. That role was the special teams guy with a lot of speed and upside. That will take less pressure off Lockett as he looks to be the primary WR.
3. San Francisco 49ers:
Last season’s record: 4-12
Postseason Result: N/A
- OLB Mark Nzeocha
- FS Jimmie Ward
- K Robbie Gould
- LT Joe Staley
- RB Raheem Mostert
- G Michael Person
- OLB Kwon Alexander (Tampa Bay)
- DE/OLB Dee Ford (Traded from Kansas City)
- RB Tevin Coleman and G Ben Garland (Atlanta)
- CB Jason Verrett (L.A. Chargers)
- ILB David Mayo (Carolina)
- DE Nick Bosa (2nd)
- WR Deebo Samuel (36th)
- WR Jalen Hurd (67th)
- P Mitch Wishnowsky (110th)
- LB Dre Greenlaw (148th)
- TE Kaden Smith (176th)
- WR Pierre Garcon (Free Agency)
- P Bradley Pinion (Tampa Bay)
- Retired ILB Navorro Bowman and TE Niles Paul
The Big Question:
Can the Niners be a for real team this year? Last year we all thought they could’ve been, but that was until all the injuries came in the way. Once QB Jimmy Garrapolo went down in week 3, the Niners season was pretty much over.
That’s what raises the questions here. Can the Niners stay healthy? Can WR Dante Pettis really be the No. 1 guy? Can they get the chemistry right?
I am actually high on the Niners this year. I think that they could do well together as long as the chemistry is there. Garrapolo has to prove that he’s worthy of the big bucks that he was given.
With the addition of Tevin Coleman and the rookie WRs like Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd, the Niners offense could put up a lot of points on the board. I mean having a lot of young speed guys ourt is a huge plus for the team ad long as they can get three chemistry. Pair all the new faces to those from last year like TE George Kittle and RB Matt Brieda, Jimmy G got lots of weapons.
4. Arizona Cardinals:Last season’s record: 3-13
Postseason Result: N/A
- Coach Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech)
- ILB Jordan Hicks (Philadelphia)
- DT Darius Philon (L.A. Chargers)
- DE Terrell Suggs and WR Michael Crabtree (Baltimore)
- G J.R. Sweezy and QB Brett Hundley (Seattle)
- TE Charles Clay (Buffalo)
- DE Brooks Reed and CB Robert Alford (Atlanta)
- QB Kyler Murray (1st)
- CB Byron Murphy (33rd)
- WR Andy Isabella (62nd)
- DE Zach Allen (65th)
- WR Hakeem Butler (103th)
- S Deionte Thompson (139th)
- WR Keesean Johnson (174th)
- C Lamont Gaillard (179th)
- TE Caleb Wilson (254th)
- S Antone Bethea and DE Markus Golden (N.Y. Giants)
- G Mike Iupati (Seattle)
- S Deone Bucannon (Tampa Bay)
- QB Mike Glennon (Oakland)
- K Phil Dawson and TE Jermaine Gresham (Free Agent)
- Traded QB Josh Rosen (Miami)
- Traded Marcus Gilbert (Pittsburgh)
- Retired LBs Arthur Moats and Gerald Hodges
The Big Question:
How will Kingsbury and Murray click together? Can they bring a new look to the Arizona Cardinals? The Cardinals did a lot of moves in the off-season to try to get the right pieces for the new system.
That is the system we all expect Murray to excel in. We’ve seen a small sample in the preseason, but what will this season bring to the Cardinals?
There is a lot of veteran presence on this young team and we hope to have those guys like WR Larry Fitzgerald, DE Terrell Suggs, and ILB Jordan Hicks help develop the talent and get them to understand the system quicker.
I mean just imagine the offensive weapons for Murray. He has RB David Johnson who when healthy is a beast of a back with passing ability. There’s still Christain Kirk who’s looking to have a break out year with Murray and then you have the rookies Isabella and Butler. We want to add Johnson to the mix, but there’s only room for five WRs right now. You count Crabtree and Fitzgerald that’s a lot of weapons. So let’s see what Murray can do with them all in a new system.
Predicted Division Standings:
- Los Angeles Rams (12-4)
- Seattle Seahawks (9-7)
- San Francisco 49ers (8-8)
- Arizona Cardinals (6-10)