Wednesday, 2 September 2009

NFC West Predictions

Last season, the NFC Champion unexpectedly came out of the West division. Even more unexpectedly, that team was the Arizona Cardinals, long one of the laughingstocks of the NFL. Led by Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin, the offense was as explosive as any in the NFL, and the passing game could move the ball throughout the field.

The Arizona Cardinals should again challenge for the division crown. The passing game will be excellent again (as long as Warner can stay healthy), and the addition of Beanie Wells in the backfield could add a spark to an already potent offense. Defensively there are still questions. The defense was just good enough last year, but they will need to get a lot better if they are going to have a chance at making it back to the Super Bowl.

The Seattle Seahawks also figure to challenge for the division crown, provided they can stay healthy. They had a lot of problems with injuries last year, and it basically doomed their season from the beginning. The health starts with Matt Hasselbeck, who has looked very good so far. If he is as good as advertised, the offense will flourish. The defense will also benefit from better health and the addition of rookie Aaron Curry, as they look to make it back to the top of the NFC West.

Next, the San Francisco 49ers will look to do some things under Mike Singletary. In his first full year of coaching, he will try to instill a grind it out mentality to the team, and they will likely feed Frank Gore early and often. If he can stay healthy and productive, the 49ers will have a chance to be a .500 ballclub. It is too soon to expect them to challenge for any division titles, but it appears they could be back on the right track after some off years under Mike Nolan.

Last, there is the St. Louis Rams, who should be improved after an abysmal 2008. New coach Steve Spagnulo is getting a tougher mentality in there which should benefit the team. Much like the 49ers, the Rams will look to win on the ground, and they should get the ball to Stephen Jackson a lot. With youth along the O-Line, they will look to build in the trenches.

The NFC West will not be a power division, but there is a lot of youth and teams on the rise. Look for the Seahawks and Cardinals to battle it out for division supremacy, with the Niners and Rams fighting for third.