The NFC West looks to be one of the more competitive divisions in football this year. The Los Angeles Rams and the Arizona Cardinals are projected to vie for the top spot with both teams closing out the year at 13-4. The San Francisco 49ers come in third in the division with a 10-7 record and just ahead of the Seattle Seahawks at the bottom, carrying an 8-9 record to the offseason.
The top of the division will be decided with a good old-fashioned stingy defense as the Rams closed last season with the top ranked defense in the NFL. In fact, LA held teams to more than 20 yards per game less than the 2nd ranked team. Couple that defense with an offense which added future Hall of Famer Matthew Stafford and you have a recipe for success. Arizona may be projected to have the same record as LA but they are not quite ready to take the division this season. The defense is not stout enough and the offense, while good, is only equal to or, at best, marginally better than the offense that the Rams will put on the field.
San Francisco and Seattle are both teams with a proven track record, as both teams have reached the Super Bowl within the last 6 years. This will not be a repeat of those seasons. San Francisco has pressed the reset button on the quarterback room and moved up to draft Trey Lance out of North Dakota St in the #3 spot during the draft. The big questions here are who will start at QB, will they play good enough to be kept around, and how long will management allow Lance to learn the NFL game? In Seattle, the draft class was fairly light, as the Seahawks only had three picks. Luckily, they finished as 12-4 division champs last year so they didn’t have a lot of holes to fill. The problem is that the rest of the division became better and they have not followed suit.