By Vincent Pensabene
The NFC West is one of the most intriguing divisions in all of football as all four teams have good storylines going into the season. Can the Rams repeat as the best offense in the NFL? Will Seattle be able to play defense without the Legion of Boom? When will Josh Rosen get to start? Can Jimmy G continue his dominance as the winningest quarterback in San Francisco history? All these questions and more will be answered as I give you my predictions for the NFC West!
Los Angeles Rams (10-6)
This is the advantage of having a good quarterback on a rookie deal. The Rams were able to basically create a custom Madden roster by having an elite defense outside of their linebackers, which are acceptable. They have the best punter in Johnny Hekker. Their offense is still solid with the addition of Brandin Cooks to replace Sammy Watkins. This offense has the potential to be special and this team has something to prove after being one-and-done last season. Credit to Les Snead and Sean McVay for creating this stud roster, which rivals the Eagles for best overall team in the NFL.
San Francisco 49ers (7-9)
I like Jimmy Garoppolo as the quarterback of this franchise, but don’t expect the same 49ers that went crazy hot after Jimmy G came over from New England. Richard Sherman is coming off a ruptured Achilles, which doesn’t have many players come back to where they once were. I’m hopeful he returns to become a good cornerback but not certain that shutdown cornerback, the kind that doesn’t get a ball to his side of the field for an entire game is coming back. I expect Sherman to be a Revis-esque cornerback during the season, a shell of himself but a good cornerback nonetheless. The 49ers have issues that they need to solve to get this team to the playoffs, but they have the foundation and will begin this season as a trendy favorite to the betting public.
Seattle Seahawks (7-9)
This team is past the Legion of Boom phase. Bobby Wagner and Earl Thomas III are the two standouts left, but Thomas is still holding out from the Seahawks. I do like Shaquill Griffin as well playing a big factor on the defensive side of the ball. Russell Wilson has some weapons to throw to as well in Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, and a hopefully healthy Brandon Marshall. Unfortunately, the running game is subpar and will hurt the team at times against good passing defenses like Los Angeles. I’m also not too big with their offensive line giving Wilson a lot of time. Look for Wilson to be scrambling a lot this season.
Arizona Cardinals (6-10)
I have been a huge Josh Rosen fan for a couple of years now. A quarterback that isn’t afraid of the media and will give his opinion, tell me what is wrong with that. Arizona’s media will love him. Sam Bradford might begin the year as the starting quarterback, but will eventually do what he usually does and return to the bench. Josh Rosen will be a quality quarterback for the next decade, however, the Cardinals will not do much. Larry Fitzgerald isn’t going to add as much as he finally takes a step back. I do think David Johnson plays a pivotal factor and still am a big fan of Patrick Peterson but nothing else outside of Johnson, Peterson, and Rosen excite me.