2023 Division Preview: NFC West

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NFC East (and Introduction)

NFC North

NFC South

1. Seattle Seahawks

 

 

If I had done this post a month ago, I would have put the 49ers at the top of the division and it wouldn’t have even been close. But after further consideration I like the Seahawks a lot more than I initially did, and the 49ers a lot less, so while it’s still close, I’m going to be bold and go with the Seahawks.

For one, they made a lot of improvements, especially on defense. They drafted Devon Witherspoon thanks to the Broncos foolishly giving them their draft pick, then signed Dre’Mont Jones also thanks in large part to using so much cap space on Russell Wilson. They also managed to infill their defense with some more mid players like Julian Love and the return of Bobby Wagner.

But also I’m not as concerned with a regression by Geno Smith back to his previous levels. This past season provided strong evidence that Pete Carroll has been a sneaky quarterback whisperer all along. Not only did Geno play well, but Wilson saw a significant decline as soon as he left Seattle.

Will the Seahawks be Super Bowl contenders? Probably not, they’d have to depend on what’s looking like a weak NFC to put together a fluke run. But I do think the evidence suggests they have a better chance at the division than a lot of people think.

2.San Francisco 49ers

 

 

The flip side of this division is that I’m not as optimistic about the 49ers as I was before. When they signed Javon Hargrave I was seriously considering ranking them even above the Chiefs. Their defense was already awesome. Adding Hargrave, who stood out when I watched all the Eagles game before the Super Bowl, makes them even that much scarier. 

But as we learned with the Tyreek Hill trade, sometimes star players can’t make up for a handful of average Joes. Not only did the 49ers lose McGlinchey, they lost a lot of contributors on defense. Charles Omenihu and Samson Ebukam represent 9.5 sacks that are no longer on the team, while Jimmie Ward, Emmanuel Moseley, and Azeez Al-Shaair are 1,135 snaps that will need to be replaced.

On top of that the +13 turnover differential is a major concern. Turnovers are very random, so it will be difficult for them to have a big turnover differential like that again. But they also have major impacts on games, so even regressing down to single digits could end up costing them a couple wins. 

In total there are a lot of reasons to be skeptical of the 49ers this year.

3. Los Angeles Rams

 

I’m a bit surprised that the Rams aren’t getting more hype. You’d think that people would be willing to write off last year as a fluke due to injuries. But I guess the conventional wisdom isn’t that dumb, they know that the Rams struggled even before the injuries started to pile up.

For me, the fact that McVay seriously considered retirement also speaks volumes to how this wasn’t a fluke. He’s a smart guy, and he knows the state of the team better than anyone. If he was thinking about quitting then that speaks volumes to how much trouble the Rams are in.

The good news is that the Rams actually have their own 1st round pick next year. If they’re lucky they’ll suck enough to get the top pick.

4. Arizona Cardinals

 

The Cardinals are everybody’s favorite pick to earn the top spot in the draft next year, and it’s not hard to see why. They were horrible last year even when Murray was healthy, but he’s not going to be healthy early in the season. The quarterback room outside of him, currently made up of Colt McCoy, David Blough, Jeff Driskel, and Clayton Tune, is less than inspiring (although I actually like Blough and feel he’s underrated). 

I actually don’t think the Cardinals are as bad as most, but that’s an extremely low bar. They’re still going to lose double digit games.

 

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Team Player
06/08/2023 4:57 pm

Rumor has it the shark is going to be a bronco

DenverDonkeyHater
06/08/2023 10:59 am

Another total shit nfc division. Can we relegate some of these teams from the west and south to the XFL?

DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  Tony Sommer
06/08/2023 11:46 am

The Cardinals are going to be terrible. I don’t see the Rams being that much better.

Imo, the 49ers are the most overrated team in the nfl. If they stay healthy they can be good, but the stars they depend on to be healthy are some of the most injury prone players ever, especially cmc and kittle. Last year they did enter the playoffs healthy but it didn’t last. Not that I think a healthy Purdy gets them past the eagles either.

Seagulls are interesting. Well not that interesting. Seem like an alex smith type team. Might win you the division with 10 or 11 wins, more likely 8 or 9 wins, but don’t expect much from them in the playoffs.

upamtn
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
06/08/2023 4:06 pm

every team has to stay healthy …

1) Niners
2) Seachickens
3) Lambs
4) Cards

DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  upamtn
06/08/2023 6:29 pm

Of course. But some players are just injury prone. Like that entire organization.

upamtn
Reply to  Tony Sommer
06/08/2023 4:07 pm

Eagles, Niners and maybe Cowboys are the best SB shots from NFC

DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  upamtn
06/08/2023 6:28 pm

Eagles.

That is all.

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