The NFC West is considered the strongest division in the NFL amongst most NFL analyst. Built on defense and depth, it’s the toughest division to come out of. Ask the Arizona Cardinals, who finished 10-6 last year and still missed the playoffs because two others from their division had better records. One of those teams would go on and win the Super Bowl!
Seattle Seahawks- Last time we saw the Seahawks they looked like the best thing since sliced bread. Total domination and physical play was their way of not only beating the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, but also how they intend to continue playing from here on out. Last year, their defense was superb allowing only 172 passing yards per game, that led the team to a 13-3 record. Now the Seahawks look to be the first NFL team to win back-to-back championships since the Patriots in 04-05. They certainly look to be in position too, as they re-signed Michael Bennett to a multi year contract while also extending contracts of S Earl Thomas and CB Richard Sherman. Although they saw guys like Red Bryant and Golden Tate walk, Seattle has a great scouting system and acquired talent through the draft. I believe Seattle stays strong and shows that they’re to be reckoned with once again, especially at home.
San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers, who went 11-5 last season, are an interesting case because they were essentially the second best team last year. Some would argue Denver, but by the end of the season it was clear the NFC was stronger and deeper than the AFC. San Fran was one Capernick pass short of back-to-back trips to the Super Bowl. Instead they were left with disappointment and allegedly some friction between Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and the front office. For now, Harbaugh is still under contract and has helped add more quality depth to his team. Although they had to see hard hitting safety Donte Whitner leave, they signed his replacement, free agent Antoine Bethea. The team did more through trades as they acquired former bills WR Stevie Johnson and OL Jonathan Martin from the Dolphins. I absolutely love the additions, but losing Whitner hurts. I believe they’ll be alright though.
Arizona Cardinals- Last year Arizona went 10-6 and it simply wasn’t good enough. This year they’re looking to over take at least one of the big brothers from their division, which is Seattle or San Francisco. This year they’ve added former Jets CB Antonio Cromartie to an already stout defense and Ted Ginn Jr for some more explosiveness on offense and in the kick return game. I expect Arizona to be competitive, but I don’t know if they get over the hump. They lost their best Offensive Linemen Eric Winston to free agency and Carson Palmer turns over the ball at an alarming rate. In 2013 he threw for 24 touchdowns with 25 turnovers.
St Louis Rams- The Rams went 7-9 last year, but showed great promise. The team arguably has one of the best front sevens in the NFL, but their offense struggled mightily. QB Sam Bradford was sat down due to injury midway through the season. Young talents such as Zak Stacy and Tavon Austin began to come into their own towards the end of the season which was wonderful to see. Rams look to take a major leap in the division as they have drafted tremendously. CB Lemarcus Joyner and DT Aaron Donald look to have an immediate impact on defense. OT Greg Robinson and RB Tre Mason point towards a stronger running game in 2014. They also added Veteran WR Kenny Britt in Free agency. I look for the rams to improve