The Los Angeles Rams have revenge on their mind after the way that last season ended but the rest of the NFC West has something to say about that! Last season the division was able to send two teams to the playoffs and they hope to meet or exceed that number this year. There is a lot of excitement in store with many new faces hoping to turn this division upside down.
Starting in Arizona, the Cardinals have a ton of fresh faces. Following a whirlwind of coaching changes from the long time head coach Bruce Arians to the first-time head coach Steve Wilks, eventually settling this year on young hot shot coach Kliff Kingsbury from Texas Tech. In his first major move after becoming head coach, Kingsbury selected Heisman Trophy Winner Kyler Murray with the #1 pick in the NFL Draft. The Cardinals hope that the young coach with fresh ideas and the dynamic playmaker out of Oklahoma can revive a floundering team and create a winner. Until Arizona can shore up the NFL’s worst rush defense, though, they will remain in the basement of the West. The Elldee Sports Formula has them winless this season, although this is a difficult call with so many new cogs in the machine.
The San Francisco 49ers lay claim to five Super Bowl titles but those are all from yester-year. The last title was earned back in 1995 but the ownership in San Francisco are level headed and are slowly building a competitive team. They look to improve upon a 4-win 2018 season and think they have the team to pull that off. Even though they only managed four victories, this team ranked in the top half of the NFL in offensive and defensive statistical categories. If they cut down on their league worst -25 turnover margin, they should easily improve on last year’s record. Don’t count on a big turnaround though, as Jimmy Garoppolo tries to return from a nasty injury and we expect him to be pretty rusty. The 49ers will win five this year, improving but only slightly.
The Seattle Seahawks had a strong run last year, finishing 10-6 and earning a Wild Card spot against the Dallas Cowboys. Even though the “12th Man” in Seattle led the Seahawks to a victory over the Cowboys in the regular season, they were not able to steal a playoff victory in Dallas. Russell Wilson is still one of the top quarterbacks in the league, a very cerebral passer, and an all-around nice guy. He will have another great season, especially with Carson and Penny in the backfield as serious threats. Pete Carrol is a player’s coach and will have this team back in the playoffs, going 10-6 for a second straight season. This will be good enough for the final Wild Card slot and a date with the New Orleans Saints!
Finally, The Los Angeles Rams are young and will be back with a chip on their shoulder after a run to the Super Bowl last season. Young players are hungry and nothing makes them hungrier than a seat at the table, only to have the food stolen from their plate. The defense will only get better as the Rams focused on defense in this year’s draft. Statistically, the defense was in the bottom half of the league but that is expected when you have one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL. The formula is predicting a 14-2 season record but in the top heavy NFC, that is only good enough for a #2 seed.
Count on the NFC West putting the same two teams in the playoffs again this season. The LA Rams will finish with 14 wins and the #2 seed. The Seahawks will match last season and finish with a 10-6 record, earning a Wild Card Seat. San Francisco will improve by a game but still finish 5-11, well short of where they want to be. The Arizona Cardinals will be exciting to watch but will sputter and finish at the bottom of the division. Until next time, good luck!