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2021 NFC West Preview

Predicted Order of Finish

NFC West

1. Los Angeles- the Rams made arguably the biggest move of the offseason acquiring QB Matthew Stafford from Detroit, Stafford has yet to win a playoff game but brings over 45,000 passing yards and 282 touchdowns in 12 seasons with the Lions, the Rams also signed DeSean Jackson to give the offense another weapon in the receiving corps alongside Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, RB Cam Akers rushed for 625 yards but will miss 2021 due to injury, Darrell Henderson Jr. who also rushed for over 600 yards will be expected to carry the load, the O-Line remains intact with the exception of center Austin Blythe but its aging veterans must stay healthy, the top rated defense of 2020 must replace its coordinator Brandon Staley who left to be head coach of the Chargers along with a host of others, safety John Johnson, cornerback Troy Hill, lineman Morgan Fox, linebacker Samson Ebukam, and defensive end Michael Brockers all were lost in the offseason, the good news is three time Defensive Player of the Year DT Aaron Donald and two time All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey return, linebacker Leonard Floyd who recorded 10.5 sacks in 2020 is also back to help Donald lead a potent pass rush, the only thing missing from Stafford’s resume is a deep playoff run and this team certainly has the talent around him to do it

2. Seattle- statistically QB Russell Wilson is coming off one of his best seasons of his 9 year career, he posted a career best 68.8 completion percentage and his 40 touchdowns were also the most of his career, however Wilson threw 13 interceptions which was also a career high and hinted in the offseason that he wasn’t happy with the pass protection getting sacked 394 times in 9 seasons, the O-Line returns 4 starters but added left guard Gabe Jackson, the receiving corps is loaded with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett along with first round draft pick D’Wayne Eskeridge, RB Chris Carson rushed for 681 yards and collected nine total touchdowns but needs backup Rashaad Penny to stay healthy and pick up some of the load, the defense was a mixed bag last year finishing 5th in rush yards allowed and 7th in sacks but was second to last in the league in pass yards allowed, linebacker is the unit’s strength led by Bobby Wagner, safety returns Jamal Adams returns as the leader in the secondary posting a team high 9.5 sacks in 2020, Adams is joined by fellow Pro Bowler Quandre Diggs, up front the line lost Jarran Reed and his 6.5 sacks a year ago but added Robert Nkemdiche, Wilson is a winner who will keep the Seahawks competitive in the loaded NFC West Division

3. San Francisco- after reaching the Super Bowl two years ago the 49ers were hit hard last with injuries and limped to a 6-10 finish, despite QB Jimmy Garoppolo posting a 24-9 mark as a starter and ranking in the top tier of every passing category in 2019 the team drafted strong armed dual threat QB Trey Lance with the third overall pick, Garoppolo will begin the season as the starter but Lance is obviously the future of the franchise, All-Pro tight end George Kittle returns as a reliable target, WR Brandon Aiyuk had 60 receptions as a rookie working alongside talented 2nd year receiver Deebo Samuel, the O-Line is a loaded with four first round picks led by LT Trent Williams and center Alex Mack who was brought in from Atlanta, the backfield is deep after spending a second and sixth round pick on running backs to join Rahmeem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. who combined 1,121 yards and 9 touchdowns last year, the defense held its own in 2020 despite losing pass rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford along with cornerback Richard Sherman to injuries for much of the year, former D coordinator Robert Saleh is now HC for the Jets and will be replaced by DeMeco Ryans, star linebacker Fred Warner led the team with 125 tackles a year ago, the secondary is deep and talented with resigning of safety Jaquisky Tartt and cornerback K’Waun Williams, cornerback Jason Verrett and rookie third round pick Ambry Thomas must step up to replace Sherman, the roster has talent but injury prone Garopollo and inexperienced unproven rookie Lance leaves too many uncertainties heading into 2021

4. Arizona- despite improving their win total by 3 games in 2020 the season was viewed by many as a disappointment missing the playoffs after losing the season finale at Los Angeles, QB Kyler Murray continues to improve coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he threw for 3,971 yards and 26 touchdowns, Murray will have an abundance of talented receivers to throw after signing AJ Green and drafting Rondale Moore to join DeAndre Hopkins, the O-Line upgraded by signing center Rodney Hudson and will need to create running lanes for Chase Edmonds and former Steeler James Conner, the defense made great strides last year finishing 12th in scoring defense and 4th in sacks, the addition of superstar defensive end J.J Watt should take the sting out of losing linebacker Haason Reddick who led the team with 12.5 sacks last year, first round draft pick Zaven Collins has a chance to step right into a starting role at linebacker, the secondary also welcomes a proven veteran in Malcolm Butler who takes over for Patrick Peterson, the roster is filled with playoff level talent but does HC Kliff Kingsbury have the coaching acumen to get the most out of it


Sell- Seattle

Best Bet- Seattle UNDER total wins

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