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Who Will Win The NFC West?

The NFC West has been one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL in recent seasons, and that seems unlikely to change in 2020. 

The San Francisco 49ers are coming off an appearance in the Super Bowl and appear locked and loaded to make a run at a repeat of their NFC title. The Seattle Seahawks are a perennial contender under Russell Wilson. The Los Angeles Rams are just two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance of their own while the Arizona Cardinals enjoyed an excellent offseason and are a popular pick to make a leap forward. 

The Super Bowl loser is notorious for having a down season the following year, which is what the market is predicting with the extra juice on the under 10.5 wins for the 49ers. That would be at least three more losses than they had in the regular season last year. I would disagree with that and make San Francisco being solid favorites again. 

Despite a poor showing in the Super Bowl, Jimmy Garoppolo is always a quarterback I have believed in. He was much better than people gave him credit for last year completing nearly 70% of his passes at 8.3 yards per attempt. George Kittle should be relied upon more than ever in the passing game with Deebo Samuel starting the season hurt, Emmanuel Sanders in New Orleans and Brandon Aiyuk adjusting to the NFL game. 

Shannahan’s lethal zone rushing attack with have a three-headed monster to work with in Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Jerrick McKinnon. Trent Williams was the prized offseason addition at left tackle. 

Despite losing DeForest Bucker on defense, San Francisco should be just as scary on that side of the ball with first-round pick Javon Kinlaw taking his place. The pass rushing trip of Nick Bsa, Arik Armstead and Dee Ford is still as good as it gets. The only question mark remains the cornerbacks outside of Richard Sherman. 

The Seattle Seahawks may have been the most fortunate team in the NFL last year. Of Seattle’s 11 regular season wins, 10 of them were by one score or fewer, and the guys who make NFL expert picks made a killing.. For the 2019 season, Seattle allowed 5.9 yards per play on defense (27th in the NFL) and gained 5.8 yards per play on offense for a negative differential. That’s certainly a far cry from the Legion of Boom days. 

What the Seahawks have going for them is still Russell Wilson, and that always makes them a frightening team to bet against. If his head coach would ever fully unleash him it would be even scarier. Wilson has by far the best wide receiver duo he has ever had to work with in Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. 

At some point when you go all in on high-priced player acquisitions you will have to deal with it down the line. That is what happened to the Rams this offseason as they lost Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks, Dante Fowler, Cory Littleton and Eric Weddle. One of the most talented rosters in the NFL for the past few seasons took a big hit. Wade Phillips is also a big loss at defensive coordinator. 

The Arizona Cardinals are a trendy pick to make a big leap forward this season. There are definitely a lot of good reasons to back this up. 

Kyler Murray seems to be the perfect fit for Kilff Kingsbury’s offense and should only get better in year two. That should certainly be true with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins to join Christian Kirk and the ageless Larry Fitzgerald.

The big question for the Cardinals is regarding their defense that finished worst in the league in yards allowed. With the drafting of Isaiah Simmons and the addition of Devon Kennard to go along with Jordan Hicks, Arizona has amazing speed in the middle of its defense. The Cardinals were embarrassing in defending tight ends last year as anybody who specialized in player props knew, so this should be a big help. Although the NFL odds may not be in their favor the Cardinals could be a real underdog pick to win this division. 

Arizona certainly had a great offseason, but still plays in a very tough division. This could be a team that is just another year away. 


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