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For the last 10 years, the NFC West has consistently been one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. This year it may rank as the best in the league. The Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams are the top two teams in a highly competitive division.
The San Fransico 49ers are the dark horse of the division. This team has all the talent on paper and if healthy, has the makings of a playoff team. The Arizona Cardinals won’t win a lot of games this year. Give it a year or two in the Kyler Murray era and this team will be competing in the playoffs. Right now Arizona is laying the groundwork.
Record in 2018: 3-13
Key Player: Runningback- David Johnson
Player to Watch: Quarterback- Kyler Murray
The Cardinals are a few years away from being a playoff team. Yes, the Kyler Murray era has begun but they still need some pieces. The offensive line is still a mess and they still don’t have a wide receiver to play alongside future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald. Christian Kirk is a nice young player, but he’s more of a slot receiver.
New coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is tailor-made for rookie quarterback Kyler Murray. Expect flashes of explosiveness from this offense. Defensively, losing Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson to suspension will hurt, but even he can’t cover all the holes in this defense. Prediction: 5-11
Los Angeles Rams
Record in 2018:13-3
Key Player: Defensive Tackle- Aaron Donald
Player to Watch: Wide Receiver- Cooper Kupp
The Rams are again the best team in the division. After a tough Super Bowl loss to the Patriots, this team is ready to get back and win the title. A lot has been made of running back Todd Gurley’s health. It has been reported Gurley has arthritis in the knee and Los Angeles will monitor his workload. This offense shouldn’t miss a beat.
The Rams return the best receiving trio in the league with Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. With those playmakers, expect quarterback Jared Goff to take the next step and become an MVP candidate.
Defensively this unit is one of the best in the league, led by All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The additions of linebacker Clay Matthews and safety Eric Weddle should help boost an already strong unit. Prediction: 12-4
San Francisco 49ers
Record in 2018: 4-12
Key Player: Quarterback- Jimmy Garoppolo
Player to Watch: Defensive End- Nick Bosa
Finally we get a full season of Jimmy Garoppolo starting quarterback. When he’s under center this team can play against anybody. Garoppolo returnes to some nice pieces to this offense: rookie receivers Deebo Samuels and Jalen Hurd will contribute immediately in the passing game.
Defensively this unit has gotten significantly stronger with additions of Kwon Alexander, Dee Ford, Jason Verrett and Nick Bosa. While on paper this team is good, it will take some time for things to come together. This team could possibly sneak into the playoffs as a wild card this year if they can steal a few games. Prediction: 8-8
Record in 2018: 10-6
Key Player: Runningback- Rashaad Penny
Player To Watch: The Offensive Line
The Legion Of Boom era is over. Finally this is Russell Wilson’s team where they live and die on his play this year. The x-factor will be how will the offensive line holds up. When healthy, this Seahawk O-line allows Wilson to create magic at the quarterback position. However this unit has not given the quarterback the protection he needs consistently.
This feared defense will lose a step without Frank Clark and Earl Thomas. Bobby Wagner will need to show why he signed the big extension and elevate this unit. Seattle is a wildcard team right now: if they’re not careful they could be home watching the postseason with us. Prediction: 10-6