Football fans, rejoice! It’s pigskin season and a year can change everything. Just last year, the Seahawks were the class of the division. Then, a massive trade happened, a new coaching staff was hired and a talented quarterback was drafted. The NFC West is now one of the best divisions in the NFL. It’s training camp time in the NFL. How does your favorite team stack up? Who will be the king of the west? We lay the gauntlet down in our seasonal analysis.
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers began 2017 with a 1-10 record, however a blockbuster trade and the acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots lead to five, straight wins to close out the year. The only passers with better efficiency numbers in that same time frame were Jared Goff, Tom Brady and Alex Smith. If Jimmy G can play on the same level he did for the latter part of last season, the 49ers will make the playoffs. San Francisco will soar in NFC West. Having now what appears to be a franchise QB, San Francisco is in good shape to join the Packers as a team that makes the playoffs this season after missing out last year.
We’re about to see if Russell Wilson can live up to his contract. The Seahawks lost numerous defensive pieces including cornerback Richard Sherman and defensive end Michael Bennet, Jr. The Legion of Boom figures to take a step back, but it’s now time for the offense to shine. Seattle picked a running back in the first round of the draft. Since Max Unger departed, the Seahawks’ offensive line has been shaky. It’s most significant addition to the line came in the from fifth-round selection Jamarco Jones.
Los Angeles Rams
The biggest surprise from last year was the L.A. Rams. With new head coach Sean McVay, the Rams played light years ahead of schedule. They are one of best teams in the league especially with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh now on the roster. With a top-notch offense lead by running back Todd Gurley and with an even better defense, the Rams look to take the throne from the Seahawks. Because of their success in 2017, the Rams will get everyone’s best punch and face one of the toughest schedules in the league this season.
The Arizona Cardinals drafted UCLA QB Josh Rosen now that Carson Palmer retired. Arizona is in rebuilding mode. The Cardinals also lost defensive coordinator James Bettcher to the New York Giants. With the entrance of Steve Wilks and Al Holcomb to the team, the Cardinals’ defensive scheme will switch from the 3-4 to a 4-3 defense. This defense will allow last season’s starting outside linebackers Chandler Jones and Markus Golden to move to their natural position of defensive end and attack the quarterback. Chandler Jones is coming off the best season of his career. He made the Pro Bowl and led the NFL with 17 sacks and 28 tackles-for-loss in 2017.