In most seasons one division looks stacked and this year the honour goes to The NFC West. We can make some sort of case for any one of them being Superbowl contenders and we think there is a good chance three of them make the postseason.
The LA Rams have gone all-in with the acquisition of Matt Stafford and with plenty of talent on defense they are justifiably favourites for the division. San Francisco has also added a shiny new QB to their squad in Trey Lance. They also have a number of players coming back from injury too. They should push the Rams for the top place.
Seattle still has Russel Wilson so despite looking thin on the O-Line they should be competitive. He has plenty of receiving talent so his best bet might be getting the ball out quick.
Arizona is most intriguing this year. They have added a load of experience on both sides of the ball to what was a relatively young squad and drafted well with both Collins & Moore likely to be starters. They could step up from their 8-8 last season
Finally, the division comprises the Seattle Seahawks, who may be years removed from the Legion of Boom, but still have Russel Wilson at QB. If they were not in this division we would fancy them for the postseason. However, in this company, they might just be 4th best.
Anyway, this is how we see the division panning out.
NFC West Predicted Finish
1st LA Rams
The Rams have mortgaged the farm multiple times of late shedding 1st round draft picks for the likes of Jalen Ramsey and now Matthew Stafford. The move to LA has to a certain degree put pressure on the team to win now and they look to have a small window of opportunity this year and possibly next before the lack of draft picks and free-agent salary demands starts to bite.
Matthew Stafford is in our opinion one of the most underrated QB’s in the league. After an injury-hit 2019, he came back strongly putting up over 4000 yards passing in a poor Lions team last season. He should excel in this lineup and may even get his first playoff win.
There is not a whole lot of depth in the receiving lineup but if they stay healthy then 5000+ yards passing is not unrealistic.
The main strength though is their Defense. Their base 3-4 D is anchored by Aaron Donald, the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year. The rest of the front seven is solid and the backfield is patrolled by Jalen Ramsey. He is arguably second only to Xavien Howard in DB ratings and he can pretty much lockdown the right side of the field.
Their schedule is littered with tough games, however, they look capable of picking up 11-12 wins, which should be enough to take the division.
2nd San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers had a torrid time with injuries in 2020. This left them languishing bottom of the division with a 6-10 record. However now back at full strength, it’s hard to find any holes in the roster. They also have a comparatively easy schedule thanks to this.
Like the Rams they have been trading away their draft picks in this case what they hope is their QB of the future. Ordinarily, this would be a concern, but as we say their roster is solid so they can afford this luxury. Trey Lance is highly unlikely to be the week one starter, however, he might see the field in November.
3rd Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals finished 8-8 last season, but five of those losses was by 8 points or less! Given they had a squad full of inexperienced players that were some achievement. So to address this they have gone out and recruited a bevvy of veteran free agents headed by JJ Watt.
He is not the only defensive addition though. Super Bowl winner Malcolm Butler fills their need at CB and they drafted ILB Zaven Collins who will stiffen the run defense.
Kyler Murray will also appreciate the addition of AJ Green, who may be heading for the twilight of his career but is still a beast.
We have them pegged for a winning season and they could easily sneak into the 7th seed.
4th Seattle Seahawks
We have slotted the Seattle Seahawks last not because they are bad, but because the rest may be slightly better. They were unable to do much in the draft due to previous years trades and they were no more successful in free agency. Overall they look to have taken a step back while the others have markedly improved.
They still have a great coach in Pete Carroll and of course, Russell Wilson can carry the team at times. Sadly someone has to finish last even if you get eight or nine wins.
NFC West Final Wins Total
LA Rams 12-5
San Francisco 49ers 11-6
Arizona Cardinals 9-8
Seattle Seahawks 8-9
So there you have it our predictions for what looks like being the strongest division in the NFC. While you are here why not check out our other NFC West Posts or have a go at some of our NFL Quizzes. Go on everyone loves a Quiz, don’t they?
[…] money (metaphorically speaking) is on the Rams who we saw winning the NFC West pre-season. They have assembled a veteran team that has both talent and experience in big games and […]