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2016 NFC West Preview
Who will prevail, Seattle Seahawks or Arizona Cardinals. Photo courtesy of raisingarizona.com

2016 NFC West Preview

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Raphael Haynes

Owner, Editor, Writer at The 3 Point Conversion
Atlanta, GA
Raphael Haynes
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Raphael Haynes, Atlanta, GA @mrcontroversy21

 

 

 

The once feared NFC West division has somewhat lost it’s intimidation due to rebuilding and personnel changes. Yet still, they still possess one of the top two teams in the NFL, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. The San Francisco 49ers and L.A Rams are in rebuilding stages dealing with quarterback changes and trying to find their offensive identity. This division is still the most physical division and all are lead by their defenses. With each team possessing a colorful coach, they feel that this could be the year that they can make a run to the Super Bowl.

 

 L.A. Rams

Record in 2015: 7-9

Key Player: Wide Receiver- Tavon Austin

Player To Watch: Quarterback- Case Keenum

Outlook: The Rams have been front and center since the start of training camp being showcased on the HBO series “Hard Knocks”. Todd Gurley is primed to have a breakout season if that makes sense from being the Rookie Of The Year last year. He will have a much heavier load this year with not only running the ball and being the focal point of the offense but catching more passes out the backfield. With Tavon Austin being the player who should be used as the “Jack of All Trades”, Case Keenum needs to play above his status and limit mistakes. This is important so that the defense can do what they do best, terrorize offenses. Aaron Donald will be a strong candidate for Defensive Player of The Year and if the defensive line plays to their ability, it just might be a good year. Prediction: 6-10

 

 

 San Francisco 49ers

Record in 2015: 5-11

Key Player: Linebacker- Navarro Bowman

Player To Watch: Wide Receiver Quinton Patton

Outlook: When training camp first started, the big news was who would new head coach Chip Kelly name as the starting quarterback, Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick. The talk has shifted to whether Kaepernick is right or wrong for protesting against injustice and police brutality. What might work in the favor of the 49ers from all of this is the pressure of winning has now disappeared. Gabbert received the nod due to the fact that Kaepernick missed the first two preseason games because of an injured shoulder. Torrey Holt leads the wide receivers with the most experience and receptions on the team but Quinton Patton might be the receiver who breaks out and make a name for himself this year in Kelly’s high speed offense. The defense is led by the league’s leader in tackles last year, Navarro Bowman. Still weak in the secondary, it is imperative for the defense to shoulder the load until the offense can catch up with Kelly’s brain. Prediction: 7-9

 

 Seattle Seahawks

Record in 2015: 10-6

Key Player: Wide Receiver- Doug Baldwin 

Player To Watch: Center- Justin Britt

Outlook: Life without Marshawn “Beastmode” Lynch begins on September 11, 2016. Many people wonder how will they fare without him. Actually, they played all season without him and played quite well. Russell Wilson transcended into a top tier quarterback and Doug Baldwin became his go-to-guy. Although the passing game blossomed, Christian Michael and Thomas Rawls have to be able to keep the running game relevant. We all know what the defense will bring, the question is will they start slow like usual or come out the blocks dominating. Prediction: 11-5

 

 Arizona Cardinals

Record in 2015: 13-3

Key Player: Running Back- David Johnson

Player To Watch: Defensive Tackle- Robert Nkemdiche

Outlook: The ending of the 2015 season left a bad taste in the mouths of the Arizona Cardinals organization. They believe that if healthy, they would have won. But because of injuries to running backs Andre Ellington and Chris Johnson, they were able to find out the worth of David Johnson. Johnson is one of the most versatile running backs in the game. Carson Palmer has recovered from the finger injury that limited him in the NFC Championship Game last season. He should be able to play at the level he played last year. Speaking of injuries, safety Tyrann Mathieu is back healthy from missing the last two games of the season. Not only his play but his presence on the field is vital. Having him back there ballhawking with Patrick Peterson locking down one side of the field, the defensive line should have an extra second to rush the quarterback. Prediction: 12-4

About Raphael Haynes

Atlanta, GA

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