The NFC West is like the NFC South in a way. We all know who is going to win the division, it’s just a matter of who is going to finish behind them. This division is full of talent, especially with rookies. Give it a few years and once some key pieces begin to settle, this could be the best division in football.
4th place: The Arizona Cardinals.
It all starts with the offense here in Arizona. It’s not clear as of who will be the starter just yet for the Cards but we can only assume it’ll be Sam Bradford. Josh Rosen will be making his starts before the year is over with.
The Cardinals only option to keep them alive is the health of running back David Johnson. Johnson is a huge impact on this team and without him, they’ll crumble.
This is most likely going to be Larry Fitzgerald’s last year and what a career he has had in Arizona. The Cards drafted Christian Kirk to fill the role for Fitz’s once he is gone. Look for Kirk and Jaron Brown to have a decent year because, well, they have no other option.
The Cards are switching over from a 3-4 to a 4-3 which will put Chandler Jones and Markus Golden in their natural spot at outside linebacker. Jones is the leader on this defense coming off his best season in his career after leading the NFL in sacks with 17.
Not much else going on with this team. A hint of why they will be the last place team in the NFC West.
3rd place: The Seattle Seahawks.
Well, it’s obvious that they are in a rebuilding stage, but Russell Wilson will continue to do what it takes to put this team on top.
It looks like the Seahawks will be starting rookie back Rashaad Penny. The other tailbacks have experience, but injuries could put them behind Penny in the rotation.
The best part about this offense is the receivers. Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett are very fast and can easily get by defenders. They also added Brandon Marshall to the mix which could help Wilson with some third and shorts.
It is going to be a different look for this Seattle defense. A lot of key pieces are no longer returning or have signed with a different team. The defense finished 11th in total defense last season. It’s the first time for them finishing outside the top 10 since 2010.
K.J Wright and Bobby Wagner are the two veteran leaders of this team. Look for them to make a difference for this team.
Many people, including myself, are looking forward to the play of Shaquem Griffin and seeing how well he will do in the NFL.
2nd place: The San Francisco 49ers.
Since acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo last season, the 49er’s have gone 8-0. Sadly for Jimmy G, that undefeated streak will come to an end this season. However, he has boosted this team to a second place finish in the NFC West.
Carlos Hyde will no longer be the back in the Bay. It’ll be Jerick McKinnon who will lead the backs this year. He’s a versatile player who could make a difference, especially in the passing game.
I think the 49ers have landed a gold mine with Garoppolo and receiver Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin had a breakout season last year and look for him to continue that again. Pierre Garcon and Trent Taylor will look to help Jimmy G and this offseason trying to get a playoff berth.
The defensive line is pretty stacked with the likes of DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, and Reuben Foster. This could be one of the best defensive lines in the NFL if they are coached right.
Richard Sherman also joins the team which should impact the team in the secondary.
1st place: The Los Angeles Rams.
The team that was in last place in this division two years ago now holds this division in their pocket.
Jared Goff is coming off a fresh year. Look for Goff to be a top-five quarterback this year given the health and consistency of the offensive line.
Todd Gurley should have another phenomenal season as the explosive back. He should be a top two running back in the league with Le’Veon Bell.
If you didn’t think this team could get any better in the offseason, they did. They added receiver Brandin Cooks who will be their number one guy. The hands of Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods will make this an offense almost too good to be true.
The defense will be just as good as the offense. Names like Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, and Aqib Talib should put them at number one and that’s just from the offseason moves they made. Unsure of Aaron Donald’s future and they still look to be set on the defensive line.
The linebackers will be the weakest link for this defense, but with the line and the power of the secondary, this defense will be something to watch.
There you have it. All my projections for the 2018 NFL season. Will they be what I think they’ll be? No, probably not and I’m not even mad about it. It’s the NFL. Nothing’s supposed to be the way it seems.