In what could be the most contentious division, the NFC West consists of some teams in a full array of points in their ability to compete. At this point, there seem to be two very distinct categories. Two are building or rebuilding and two trying to compete today.
The San Francisco 49ers made some moves this offseason and are looking to build around a new quarterback. First-round pick, third overall selection Trey Lance, looks to sit behind Jimmy Garoppolo. With a good pair of wide receivers, a solid running back committee, and George Kittle the offense looks primed to play spoiler. Additionally, their defense is not lacking luster. They will compete hard. It all comes down to Garoppolo’s health and how soon Lance is thrust into the starting position.
The 49ers will battle it out with the Arizona Cardinals. At this point, they have given Kyler Murray all he needs to succeed. Newley acquired A.J. Green will flank DeAndre Hopkins and draft pick Rondale Moore. They have little depth at running back but a good starting tandem. Also, their offensive line is somewhat suspect. Behind D.J. Humphries and Rodney Hudson, they do not have the talent needed. One more draft and this offense will compete day in and day out. On the other side, their defense looks stout, especially with the addition of J.J. Watt.
Fighting For Number One
The ever-dangerous Russel Wilson heads the 2020 NFC West champs roster yet again. But the Seahawks had a very limited draft with the trades they made over the last two years. This resulted in only three picks. They now find themselves in a “win now” window. Ultimately their offensive line looks to be their downfall again. If you cant protect Wilson he’ll end up running far too much than should be required. He can make a play using his feet to buy time but that almost always ends up being the downfall of a team. On top of that Bobby Wagner looks to be the last player from the “Legion of Boom”. The defense looks less than stellar from years past and it will need to outperform expectations. At the end of the day they will still compete hard as a team.
The Biggest Contender
The Los Angeles Rams find themselves in a good spot. As they eye taking over the West, the front office went out and grabbed one of the most underrated quarterbacks ever in Matthew Stafford. The team has high confidence in him, especially after giving up Jared Goff, two first-rounders, and a third. I for one have felt that Stafford is phenomenal, he’s just been on a mismanaged and bad team for some time. Now he gets to prove his worth.
Stafford will have the likes of Van Jefferson, Cooper Kupp, and Robert Woods at wideout. Balancing him out will be Cam Ackers and Darrel Henderson running the ball. Tyler Higbee is underrated at tight end and will perform better this season with a new quarterback. He could be a breakout player.
The defense looks stout too. Starting in the back Jalen Ramsey is a performer. Pairing him with Darious Williams makes one of the best corner tandems in the league. There is depth at safety and linebacker. They added Ernest Jones from South Carolina in the third round. A solid pick at that position. Add in a solid defensive line with Aaron Donald leading the way and it’s safe to say they are pushing for a Super Bowl run.
The Buccaneers get to take on the test that the Rams present early in the season. This will let them feel things out in case they face them in the postseason. Just like the team did with the Packers and Chiefs. It will be a good match-up for sure.