Over the last couple of years, the NFC West has been the best division in football. The outlook may have changed this season, though. The rundown of the division consists of the LA Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. Since 2012 the West has represented the NFC in the Super Bowl six times. The 49ers, Seahawks, and Rams have gone two times each. The Seahawks and Rams are the only teams to win the Lombardi during that period.
Through three weeks, we’re looking at another tight race, much like the last five seasons. The Rams are atop the division with a 2-1 record, followed by everyone else at 1-2. With every game, these four teams put on an entertaining matchup more times than not.
All four teams have a nemesis in the division they can’t seem to crack. The Rams beat up on the Cardinals. The Cardinals beat up on the 49ers, the 49ers beat up on the Rams, and the Seahawks beat up on the 49ers. Every team has its fair share of advantages in rivalries, and that’s alright. The outlook of this division is still up in the air. Too early to tell, but the writing is on the wall for a few teams. Here’s a rundown of all the teams through my eyes.
Kyler Murray looks like Kyler from the last half of 2021. DeAndre Hopkins will be out until week six, serving his suspension for PEDs. The offense has gotten off to slow starts in all three games this season. AJ Green has been ineffective and will be out of Sunday’s contest. The rushing attack has been middle of the pack. The one thing that could help the team in a time of uncertainty without Hopkins hasn’t helped much. It’s an uphill climb for the Cardinals. If they’re not careful, they could be looking at the bottom half of the division.
I’m not sure what I can say about Seattle. They look to be in a rebuild after sending Russell Wilson to Denver. Geno Smith is under center for the time being, and they don’t seem to be building around him. The defense looks solid, but Safety Jamal Adams is gone for the year with a torn quadriceps. Receiver D.K Metcalf stands out on offense to me. Aside from that, Seattle won’t be making many waves in the West this season. They could be compared to a rundown row of buildings.
San Francisco Outlook:
The 49ers hit “Code Jimmy” in week three. Starter Trey Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury in a win over Seattle. Jimmy Garappolo was at the center of trade rumors all off-season. Jimmy came to the rescue in week two to beat the Seahawks handily. The Niners struggled last week vs. the Broncos dropping their second loss of the year. The offensive line will be without All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams for at least four weeks. The team placed him on the IR with an ankle sprain last week.
With Williams out, it will be a tough test with a matchup vs. LA this Monday night. Before the injury, the Niners allowed a 21.7% pressure rate. The good news is that the Rams rank last in the NFL with an 11% pressure rate. A win for the 49ers would bring them into a tie for first place. It would also extend their streak vs. the Rams to seven regular season wins. San Francisco has a shot at contending for the division crown.
Los Angeles Outlook:
The Rams are the defending Super Bowl champions. A team dealing with quite a few injuries has looked improved since week one. Starting the season with a blowout loss at home isn’t how the champs thought the season would start. Winners of the last two, LA looks better but not perfect.
Injuries to the offensive line, no Van Jefferson, and a mediocre run game have the Rams looking sluggish. Pair that with Stafford not being able to create chemistry with Allen Robinson. It’s a recipe for a slow start. However, The Rams are still the favorites to win the division. Injuries do happen, but this team has proven they can hit on any late-round draft picks. They’ve shown they’re not afraid to wheel and deal for established talent, either.
These four teams will have some hard-hitting matchups. Arizona has the pieces to do something but can’t seem to get out of its way. Seattle has seen brighter days but has something brewing. San Francisco will always look decent enough to be a threat. They did, after all, win the division three years ago. But LA? The Rams are still the team to beat.
The rumors of Odell Beckham jr returning in December get me giddy. He adds a whole new element and makes this offense dangerous. Stafford will only get better as the year progresses. We will have to wait until the season’s end to determine if my prediction is correct. Regardless of the outcome, Monday Night, there will be plenty of overreacting from fans alike. No matter who you root for, don’t panic. It’s only week four.
If you enjoyed this article. Check out another of my articles. “Where Will Stafford Rank In Rams History?”
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