Wednesday, September 4, 2013

NFC West Preview

Everyone's new darling division, 3 years after it was the biggest laughing stock this side of ACC football, is going to be a treat to watch this season. The budding "rivalry" of Seahawks-49ers will be nearly must-see TV, the Rams are on the rise, and the Cardinals have an actual QB this season. So this should be fun, right?

Both the 49ers and Seahawks are very similar to each other, so it's efficient to talk about them both at once. Both teams have talented young QB's who can pass just as well as they run, they both have an absolutely brilliant defense, and both have great home-field advantages (even though they're moving after this season to their new Santa Clara palace). Both teams have injuries at wide receiver that will hurt them to a point this season, although Seattle's might hurt them more. Even though I never really thought the Percy Harvin trade was a good one at the start, it has never looked worse right now. The 49ers are without Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham, but the 49ers are probably better off because of their depth at RB and TE. Both teams are incredibly close to each other in terms of quality, even though San Francisco's defense is slightly better for me. They are both going to slug it out for the division title this season, and it might come on the last day of the season this time around..

The St. Louis Rams are a young team with some interesting players all around, and coming off an 8-8 season some have them sneaking into the postseason. They have young talent at WR and RB, and it's going to be interesting to watch players like Daryl Richardson, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and others develop. Their defensive talent is young and interesting too, but when you want to stretch to say whether they're good, it's a tough question. Chris Long, Robert Quinn, James Laurinaitis, Janoris Jenkins and others are talented, but whether they can put it all together for Jeff Fisher is a question. With the NFC West being as difficult a division as it is now, as well as the NFC contenders for the wild card spots, it's hard to see the Rams getting there this season, but they'll certainly be close.

Arizona now has a quarterback that isn't named after a famous radio circus clown (look up Red Skelton) in Carson Palmer, and that should help out poor Larry Fitzgerald who deserves more than anyone else to have a solid QB to throw him the ball. They have depth issues at the rest of the offensive skill positions though. Their offensive line is also in transition, and with Jonathan Cooper's broken leg, it will be hard for them to see massive improvement. The defense might once again be the strong suit with players like Dockett, Abraham, Campbell and Peterson amongst others. The Cardinals might not be much different from the team last year, but they'll be a more interesting watch this season.

In summary... the battle between the 49ers and Seahawks is a toss-up, the Rams are going to be good, but not great, and the Cardinals will at least be interesting this season, even though they might not be much better.

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