Tag: NFC West

NFL 2015 preview: Seahawks win a crowded NFC West

Predicted Finish:

Seattle Seahawks (11-5) (2nd seed; Super Bowl Winner)

St. Louis Rams (9-7)

Arizona Cardinals (8-8)

San Francisco 49ers (5-11)

Don’t be misled here. Just because I don’t have multiple teams making the playoffs from the NFC West this season doesn’t mean it’s not still one of the best divisions in football. In fact, it’s primarily a collection of very tough schedules that I see holding down some of the division’s contenders, not a lack of ability.

Do I really think Seattle can come out and go to three straight Super Bowls, something that hasn’t been done since Jim Kelly’s Bills did it in the early ‘90s?

You’re damn right.

The Seahawks defense is epic. They are a unit for the ages. And offensively, they got a lot better in the offseason. They also have a very smart quarterback in Russell Wilson, and the thing that distinguishes the Mannings and the Bradys of the world more than anything else is not their throwing ability or their athleticism or even their leadership. It’s brains. You doubt Seattle can go to a third Super Bowl and win their second. Be my guest. You’ll see.

I have the St. Louis Rams edging out the Arizona Cardinals this year because the Rams got the easier path schedule-wise while the Cardinals have a tough go of it. These are very evenly matched teams, and I really do like the way Jeff Fisher has his guys ready every week. That’ll be enough for second place.

The Cardinals will take a step back this year, and I think they may move on from Carson Palmer at some point as well, but don’t count out Arizona in the future. This is a team with a solid core, especially defensively, and they aren’t going to have a killer schedule every single year.

If there’s a team that got absolutely dismantled in the offseason, it’s the San Francisco 49ers. I believe they are returning one out of 11 starters on defense, which is just… I don’t even know. This entire team has fallen apart this offseason, so when you hear people saying how much the 49ers miss Jim Harbaugh, try not to throw up in your mouth.

Like I said, I have the Seahawks winning it all against Baltimore this year, in what promises to be an epic Super Bowl. One of the keys to getting there, however, is the Packers’ inability to defense a mobile quarterback like Wilson. Expect Green Bay to blow it in the NFC Championship game before Seattle nails it down in the big game.

Games to Watch:

Week 2 – St. Louis @ Washington: Nick Foles’ career numbers against Washington’s lousy secondary are video game crazy. If you like yardage, points, more yardage, more points and more yardage, this will be the game for you.

Week 4 – Green Bay @ San Francisco: There are a lot of teams that are going to be looking for payback against the Niners now that they’re down and out, but perhaps none more so than the Packers. This one could get ugly.

Week 7 – Baltimore @ Arizona: I have the Cardinals’ tough schedule keeping them out of the playoffs. One remedy for that is for Arizona to come out and beat down their tough schedule. This one will be hard to win, but it’s doable.

Week 11 – San Francisco @ Seattle: As I said, a lot of people will be looking for payback. I’ll take the Seahawks.

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The Best Division In Football: NFC West 2014 Preview

The best division in football hands down puts three teams in the playoffs because – why the hell not?

Maybe you think the Seattle Seahawks are just too good not to repeat out of the NFC, but keep in mind, one dimensional teams – those that dominate only on one side of the football, NEVER repeat.

Seattle’s defense, even with the rule changes, is just too good for them not to still figure prominently in the NFC playoff picture, and it doesn’t hurt that they continue to boast the NFL’s biggest home field advantage.  Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin will provide just enough on offense to allow Seattle to once again win the West.

I’m a big fan of good teams that improve their line play, and that’s what the Cardinals did in the offseason.  That should help RB Andre Ellington, who will be the feature back this season, and give Arizona a good balanced attack.

On defense, the Cardinals excellent stop unit suffered key losses to the line and linebacking corps, but got better in the secondary, which makes them more like Seattle.  That’s not a bad thing.

I’m not exactly dissing the 49ers when I pick them third – I do have them going 10-6 and there are a number of things wrong with the 49ers right now that I feel will hold them back.  First off, I’m still not sold on Colin Kaepernick as anything more than an athletic quarterback.  I’d rate him slightly behind Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton.  He doesn’t elevate the players around him.  Steve Johnson and Carlos Hyde are both good additions, but neither elevates the Niners’ offense to an elite level.

That means the onus remains on San Francisco’s defense, and that unit has been in slight decline ever since their Super Bowl year.  Losses to a secondary that was already a weakness, legal troubles for stand out Aldon Smith and less-than-elite level play from elite ILB Patrick Willis are all causes for concern heading into 2014.

Finally, Jim Harbaugh appears to be distracted heading into the last year of his deal.  I’ve always felt Harbaugh was overrated, but having a lame duck coach, no matter who he is, is never a good thing.

Even though I think Shaun Hill is one of the more reliable back up QBs in the NFL, having him start all 16 games for the Rams pretty much kills their season.

That may turn out to be a good thing, since the Sam Bradford era is probably over in St. Louis and there are at least three potential marquis quarterbacks available in the 2015 draft (Jameis Winston, Brett Hundley and Marcus Mariota).  Before worrying about next year, the Rams need to navigate this one.

Once again, playing in the NFL’s toughest division will retard the Rams overall W-L record but for once that will be a good thing as it plays into improved draft position.  While the Rams offense remains a work in progress, Jeff Fisher is quietly building a real holy terror on defense, starting with one of the best and deepest defensive lines in football.

2014 may be a lost cause, but the future for St. Louis could be quite bright.

Predicted Finish:


Seattle Seahawks (12-4) (2nd seed; NFC Championship Game)

Arizona Cardinals (11-5) (5th seed; NFC Divisional Round)

San Francisco 49ers (10-6) (6th seed; NFC Wildcard Round)

St. Louis Rams (4-12)

Games to Watch:

Week 3 – Denver @Seattle:  Does anyone NOT want to see this Super Bowl rematch?  I didn’t think so.

Week 10 – San Francisco @New Orleans:  Last season’s week 11 match up between these two teams was one of the games of the year.  There’s every reason to think the rematch will be as well.

Week 15 – Arizona @St. Louis:  The Cardinals were the only team in the West to lose a game to the Rams last season.  They can’t afford to do that again.

Week 16 – Seattle@Arizona:  This is the end of a brutal five week stretch for the Seahawks that sees them playing San Francisco and Arizona twice each.  It has huge playoff implications.



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The NFC West is making all the right moves

This is probably the NFC’s toughest division, with two legitimate Super Bowl contenders at the top, and two teams that would win the NFC East on the bottom.

Predicted Finish

Seattle Seahawks (12-4) (1st seed; NFC Championship Game)

San Francisco 49ers (11-5) (5th seed; NFC Divisional Round)

Arizona Cardinals (8-8)

St. Louis Rams (7-9)

Hit the title/continue reading to read more. . .

NFC West 2013


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