By: Monte Perez
The NFC West could be the most competitive division in all of football.
San Francisco 49ers, 12-4.
The 49ers have one of the best defenses in the NFL. That alone should carry them to 12 wins. Their defense is fast, physical, and intimidating. Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, and Kwon Alexander should combine for 25 sacks. The question for this defense is their back 4. Will San Francisco go after safety Earl Thomas. George Kittles is the best Tight End in the NFL. He can physically dominate his opponents with his blocking and has great hands. He is the No.1 option on a team that uses running backs and wide receivers by committee
Jimmy Garoppolo had 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season. He will sometimes make a bad read and throw a questionable interception. but he is 21-5 as a starter. Is he a top 10 quarterback? Probably not, but he can win a lot of games in for the 49ers.
Seattle Seahawks, 9-7:
In eight seasons together, Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson have produced an 86-41-1 record with three division titles and seven total playoff appearances, including 1 Super Bowl win. Wilson is the straw the stirs the drink. He makes everything easier. The Seahawks have one of the most conservative play-callers in the NFL. Brian Schottenheimer believes in running on 1st down, running on 2nd down, and on 3rd down make Wilson make a play. It’s predictable and boring. Schottenheimer should have been fired a long time ago.
Tyler Locket and DK Metcalf had 140 catches and 15 touchdown receptions. They should improve on that number in 2020. The Seahawks use running back by committee and Pro Football Focus has them ranked as the 28th best offensive line.
Defensively, this team is led by linebacker, Bobby Wagner. The Former Utah State star had 159 total tackles last season. KJ Wright was 2nd on the team with 132 total tackles. The backend of this unit is far removed from “The Legion of Boom”, But Jamal Adams should improve their secondary. As long as Wilson is under center, this team has a chance to win every game..
Los Angeles Rams, 8-8:
The Rams played in the Super Bowl two years ago but this team seems so far removed from that group it is mind-boggling. Sean McVay’s offense is predicated on running the ball, but his offensive line is ranked 25th in the NFL. Jared Goff regressed last season. In 2019, he threw for 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. In 2020, he threw for 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Cooper Kupp had 94 receptions and 10 touchdowns last season. The running back is still a question mark. Do the Rams have a legitimate No.1 option at that position?
Defensively, Los Angeles has the best player in the NFL. Aaron Donald had 48 tackles and 12 sacks last season. He did this despite getting double and triple-teamed. Jalen Ramsey is still an elite defensive back and should be the leader in the defensive backfield.
This team has too many question marks in a division that is on the rise.
Arizona Cardinals, 7-9:
Kyler Murray threw for 3,772 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his rookie campaign. He also completed 64% of his passes. Andre Hopkins comes over from Houston Texas. Over the past three seasons, Hopkins had 315 catches and 31 touchdowns passes. The Cardinals expect him to be their No.1 option on offense. He could catch over 100 balls this season. Christian Kirk had 68 receptions in 2019 and with Hopkins drawing double-teams, Kirk should catch at least 80 balls in 2020. Kenyan Drake should get the bulk of the carries at running back and Larry Fitzgerald will be a perfect 3rd down receiver.
Defensively, Arizona ranked last in the league in yards allowed per game (402.0) and total receptions allowed (421) and tied for last in total interceptions (seven). Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons could lead the Cardinals in tackles this year. He played 5 positions on defense for Dabo Swinney.
The Cardinals have the worst defense in the division. They are 1 or 2 years away from being a legitimate contender.
This division is good enough to get 2 or 3 teams into the playoff.
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