The NFC West was full of surprises and disappointments in 2018. Many wanted to see what quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could do with the 49ers, but instead, he was injured in week three.
In Arizona, there were hopes that quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Josh Rosen could get the offense rolling with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and running back David Johnson. The Cardinals finished 3-13. Seattle was a pleasant surprise to the NFC West. After losing the famous “legion of boom” secondary, the Seahawks finished 10-6 and made the postseason, while the Rams finished runner-up in the NFL after the Super Bowl loss to the Patriots.
It’s going to be another tough season in Arizona. The Cardinals have a first time NFL head coach Kliff Kingsbury calling the shots. It’s a gamble because Kingsbury didn’t shine at Texas Tech, although he did have the Red Raiders passing game in the top-ten every season. The Cardinals brought in many older veterans, but will still have a rookie quarterback, and the NFL’s worst offensive line protecting him. Every win for the Cardinals will be considered an upset, and they may get those wins against Seattle and San Francisco, as they always play them tough. The good news is that the future is bright in Arizona.
Prediction: 2-14 (2-4)
Despite losing CB Justin Coleman, DE Frank Clark, and S Earl Thomas, the Seahawks are still a contender. Why? Because they have the best playmaking quarterback in the NFL Russell Wilson to carry them. Every play, Wilson can turn nothing into a positive gain, and last year it showed as he willed the injury-depleted Seahawks to the playoffs. With a seemingly unfair (loud) home-field advantage the Seahawks will carve up their first three opponents. In week four, the Seahawks will be brought back to earth by an upset in the desert. Week five, the Seahawks will make an upset for themselves as they beat the Rams, and take a follow-up victory in Cleveland the following week. The Ravens defense will contain Wilson in week seven, but the Seahawks will get back on track. Two more losses are on the Seahawks schedule when they travel to San Francisco and Los Angeles. Overall, the Seahawks should fair well with the 25th ranked schedule in the NFL.
Prediction: 12-4 (3-3)
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco is poised for a good season. They’ve beefed up their pass rush with Dee Ford, and draft pick Nick Bosa while adding RB Tevin Coleman and WR Jordan Matthews to strengthen the offense. A week three bye-week may be tough to overcome, and it’s questionable to know if Garoppolo has enough experience to lead this team to the postseason. It’ll be an up and down season to start as the 49ers will split wins and losses by picking up victories against Cincinnati, Cleveland, Washington, Arizona (home), and Seattle. A tough four-game stretch of Green Bay, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Atlanta may diminish the 49ers playoff hopes. A week 16 victory over the Rams might not mean much if the 49ers don’t handle their business in weeks 12-15.
Prediction: 6-10 (3-3)
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are tied for the third easiest schedule in the NFL; which should aid them in returning to the postseason. Their explosive offense (with a healthy Cooper Kupp) help them edge the Panthers and Saints before buzzing through the Browns and Bucs. After being humbled in Seattle, the Rams will tare through the 49ers, Falcon, and Bengals. The Steelers will delivery the Rams their second loss of the season, but the Rams will get in gear down the stretch winning six of their last seven to get into the postseason and make another Super Bowl run.
Prediction: 13-3 (4-2)
NFC West Standings: 2019-20 Prediction
Rams 13-3 (4-2)
Seahawks 12-4 (3-3)
49ers 6-10 (3-3)
Cardinals 2-14 (2-4)
Featured Image: NBC Sports