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2018 NFL Predictions: NFC West

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Russell Wilson” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

By RahimAli Merchant

The Los Angeles Rams surprised many of us by the way they managed to turned their franchise around in one year under head coach Sean McVay, but will they continue where they left off and be crowned the champs of the NFC west again? How about the Seahawks and them looking to win the division and make it to the playoffs again? Will Jimmy Garoppolo prove to everyone why he’s the best quarterback in the NFC West? Or could Josh Rosen start over Sam Bradford and lead the Cardinals to the playoffs? Let’s find out!

1. Los Angeles Rams

2017 Offseason & Review

Record: 11-5

Postseason Result: Won their division for the first time since 2003, only to lose to the Atlanta Falcons 26-13 in a Wild Card game.

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • Franchise Tagged CB/S  LaMarcus Joyner.
  • Signed DT Ndamukong Suh (Dolphins), Signed CB Sam Shields (FA)
  • Acquired WR Brandin Cooks (Patriots), CB Marcus Peters (Chiefs), CB Aqib Talib (Broncos)
  • Drafted and Signed LB Ramik Wilson (UGA – Chiefs)
  • Re-signed C John Sullivan,  DT Dominique Easley, CB Nickell Robey-Coleman.

Offseason Departures:

  • Waived DB Marcus Sayles, CB Kayvon Webster
  • Traded OLB Robert Quinn (Dolphins), LB Alec Ogletree (Giants), RB Tavon Austin (Cowboys)
  • Lost WR Sammy Watkins (Chiefs), OLB Connor Barwin (Giants), OLB Trumaine Johnson (Jets)
2018 Preview/The Big Question

The Rams finally got rid of Jeff Fisher and his old school style coaching for a much younger, fresh style in Sean McVay. After 14 seasons of failing to win the division and make the playoffs, the Rams are back to the top of their division, but can they stay there and create another dynasty?

The question lies in the hands of the defense and QB Jared Goff. That question is … How do the Rams win the NFC West consistently?

With coach McVay, Goff and the entire Rams offense look much more improved, and they will need to continue where they left off. This time they must learn to score more points under pressure. Of course, this is a young team and we expect players to learn from their mistakes. That is what the Rams offense will do. The defense has different plans in mind! Instead of the offense having to go through shootouts, the defense will be looking to shut down all opponents. With new additions like Suh, Peters and Talib, we find it hard to believe the Rams won’t win their division.

Prediction: 12-4

 

2. San Francisco 49ers

2017 Offseason & Review

Record: 6-10

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • Signed RB Jerick Mckinnon (Minnesota), CB Richard Sherman (Seattle)
  • Resigned QB Jimmy Garoppolo, LB Korey Toomer, and LG Jonathan Cooper
  • Drafted OL Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame), WR Dante Pettis (Washington)

Offseason Departures:

  • Traded C Daniel Kilgore (Dolphins)
  • Lost RB Carlos Hyde (Browns), CB Dontae Johnson (Seahawks), CB Leon Hall (Raiders)
  • Did not re-sign LB Elvis Dumervil or S Eric Reid
2018 Preview/The Big Question

Last season started off looking like one of the worst in franchise history, until there was a move made that could have saved the name of the franchise. That move was the trade with the New England Patriots to get backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo was traded before the deadline, but didn’t make his appearances as a starter until the final five games of the season, in which the Niners won all of them to finish the season with a 6-10 record.

Here the question lies with the coaching staff. How will all the new additions on both sides of the ball benefit the 49ers? Can they have a winning season with the young, talented offense they put together with Garoppolo? How will the defense help them win games?

We have a small sample size of what Garoppolo can do, but with an improved offensive line and more weapons for him, this could be a solid offensive team who could be in the playoff hunt late. Or they could be a team in the middle of the pack that still needs to relay on a solid defense as well, but I do expect great things out of Jimmy G this season.

Prediction: 10-6

 

3. Seattle Seahawks

2017 Offseason & Review

Record: 9-7

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • Drafted RB Rashaad Penny (San Diego State), TE Will Dissly (Washington), OL Jamarco Jones (Ohio State), and OLB Shaquem Griffin (UCF)
  • Signed WR Jaron Brown (Cardinals) WR Brandon Marshall (Giants), TE Ed Dickson (Panthers), K Sebastian Janikowski (Raiders), LOLB Barkevious Mingo (Colts), and CB Dontae Johnson (49ers)

Offseason Departures:

  • Traded DE Michael Bennett (Eagles)
  • Retired S Kam Chancellor
  • Lost RB Thomas Rawls (Jets), WR Paul Richardson (Redskins), TE Jimmy Graham (Packers), and CB Richard Sherman (49ers)
  • Did not re-sign OL Luke Joeckel, DT Sheldon Richardson, and CB Jeremy Lane
2018 Preview/The Big Question

The Seahawks missed the playoffs for the first time in five years. It is also the first time QB Russell Wilson and coach Pete Carroll have missed the playoffs together. Though you can’t put the fault on Wilson because his offensive line has put more pressure on him to be great. It was also injuries to the defense that forced more shoot outs than the Seahawks could handle.

Here lies the question of how the Seahawks plan to rebound from all the lost players they had this off season. How will the defensive front do without the “Legion of Boom” to back them up? How will the offensive line hold up this season for Wilson?

Over the years, the Seahawks secondary was referred to as the “Legion of Boom” with cornerback Richard Sherman, and safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Two of the three have moved on in their careers, and the third may go before the season starts. As you have read in the departure section, Sherman is in SF and Chancellor is set to retire. There are reports of Thomas being on the trade block, but regardless, the “LOB” is no more, and that is raising questions to how the Seahawks will adjust.

The Seahawks are also dealing with a lot of new faces on offense, which means Wilson has more weapons. Or so we hope! We look to see Penny, Dickson, Brown, and Marshall all play a huge role in the success of the Seahawks offense, but could we see them getting enough wins in an already competitive NFC to be in the playoffs?

Prediction: 9-7

 

4. Arizona Cardinals

2017 Offseason & Review

Record: 8-8

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • Signed QB Sam Bradford (Vikings), RG Justin Pugh (Giants), RT Andre Smith (Bengals), CB Jamar Taylor (Browns), CB Bene Benwikere (Cowboys)
  • Drafted QB Josh Rosen (UCLA), RB Chase Edmonds (Fordham), WR Christian Kirk (Texas A&M), C Mason Cole  (Michigan)

Offseason Departures:

  • Retired QB Carson Palmer
  • Lost QB Drew Stanton (Browns), RB Adrian Peterson (Redskins), RB Kerwynn Williams (Chiefs), WR John Brown (Ravens), WR Jaron Brown (Seahawks), S Tyrann Mathieu (Texans), CB Tramon Williams (Packers),  and CB Justin Bethel (Falcons)
  • Did Not resign LB Karlos Dansby
2018 Preview/The Big Question

After a 13-3 season three years ago, the Cardinals have managed to finish with eight losses each of the past two seasons. Last season was full of ups and downs and the Cardinals just couldn’t find their way to make the playoffs again.

Of course, the injury to RB David Johnson doesn’t help them either because that forced them to turn to other backs like Kerwynn Williams, Andre Ellington, Chris Johnson, and Adrian Peterson. With Johnson back, the Cardinals look like they are ready to run all over the NFC. This time, his running mates are different. He even has a new set of receivers and quarterbacks he’ll play alongside with.

Let’s not forget about the loss the Cardinals are taking in their secondary. Aside from Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu was possibly the best defensive player in the Cardinals secondary and they lost him in free agency to the Houston Texans.

However, the real question lies in the personnel of the Arizona Cardinals. With all these changes to both the offensive and defensive side, how will new head coach Steven Wilks and his coordinators (Mike McCoy – OC, Al Holcomb – DC) help the new, young Cardinals team win more games?

Even though the Cardinals lost safety Tyrann Mathieu, their defense still looks very solid, and both Wilks and Holcomb will thrive with this team’s defense.

But the biggest question lies on how McCoy plans to use the new quarterbacks and running backs to go along with veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and young, talented rookie Christian Kirk. How long will it take for Rosen to start over Bradford? How can Chase Edmonds and Kirk help the Cardinals offense? The success of this offense will lead to the success of this team, but it isn’t enough to finish atop the NFC.

Prediction: 7-9

 

Predicted division standings:

  1. Los Angeles Rams (12-4)
  2. San Francisco 49ers (10-6)
  3. Seattle Seahawks (9-7)
  4. Arizona Cardinals (7-9)

 

Let us know what you think of these predictions and even give us your own! Also don’t forget to return daily to found out more predictions!

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2 Responses

  1. September 6, 2018

    […] Rahim’s NFC West:                              Cullen’s AFC West: […]

  2. September 28, 2018

    […] Rahim’s NFC West:                              Cullen’s AFC West: […]

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