8 Divisions 8 Days: NFC West Preview

Can Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks return to a third straight Super Bowl? Photo Courtesy: Rick Leal
Can Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks return to a third straight Super Bowl?
Photo Courtesy: Rick Leal

By Matthew Behrndt

The NFC West is one of the more intriguing conferences in the league. For the last few years the Seattle Seahawks have dominated a division that was thought of as one of the best in the league. This division is known for its defense. 3 of the top 10 defenses are in this division and will be the main reason these teams win games this year.

Last year the Cardinals went on a great run; that unfortunately ended with the injury of Carson Palmer. The Cardinals took advantage of a team that seemed to be suffering from a Super Bowl hangover. However, the Seahawks came back stronger than ever after a rough start and was the team to beat in the NFC and took themselves to a second straight Super Bowl. The Rams a team that had an up and down season last year that left some fans hope for this season. The 49ers on the other hand have had one of the worst off-seasons ever and they just hope to throw out a defense that hasn’t either left or arrested.

San Francisco 49ers: Record (5-11)
The offense isn’t the biggest problem with this team at all. If┬áKaepernick can keep the turnovers down they should not have a problem scoring. Unfortunately it looks as if Kaepernick has lost his desire to keep playing with the 49ers as the struggles last year showed. The main problem however, is the defense, it seems that this off-season every major defensive contributor has either left or been kicked off the team. The defense was everything for the 49ers and now with Harbaugh gone and the defense in shambles, it looks like the 49ers are going to struggle.

St. Louis Rams: Record (9-7)
The Rams are an intriguing team. They have a really good young defense lead by Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Their defensive line might be the best in football and have every right to claim it. Their linebackers are also a very solid group but the trouble starts in the secondary which might be their downfall in a pass happy league. The addition of Foles is a great one, he is well groomed, very capable and can hurl the ball down field to a speed player like Tavon Austin. The problem with the Rams is that the running game and secondary are below average and in a division with good secondaries you better hope you can run the ball.

Arizona Cardinals: Record (10-6)
The Cardinals got off to a great start last season and if Carson Palmer was healthy the whole year they might have won the division. The Cardinals won a lot of games last year because they had such a great defense. They lost Cromartie this off-season which will hurt, but even with that loss they still have a really good secondary. The hardest part for this team this year is if they can score points when they need to. They base everything on possession and a good defense but if they go down early they have a hard time scoring. If the Cardinals can score on a consistent basis, then they have a legitimate chance of beating the Seahawks.

Seattle Seahawks: Record (13-3)
What can you say? The Seahawks have one of the more complete teams in the NFL. They really don’t have that many weaknesses. The only one might be if the wide receivers can produce enough to relieve the pressure on Marshawn Lynch. Also the offensive line isn’t as good as it has been in the past. The defense is as good as ever with a great secondary and linebacking core. The defensive line isn’t as stacked but with Avril and Bennett on each side, getting to the quarterback won’t be very hard. If this team plays as well as it did at the end of last year then they should have no problem making it to a third straight Super Bowl appearance.