NFC West and South Preview
It is one of the most exciting times of the year as summer is coming to an end and the start of the football season is upon us. High School football starts next week! College Football shortly after that, and the NFL season is less than a month away from kicking off their regular season. With just a few weeks left until the NFL season starts, it’s a good time to predict how each division will shape up. This week’s article will feature the NFC West and the NFC South division.
NFC West- Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks
This is one of the better divisions in the NFL as all four teams have talented rosters that can make a run for the playoffs, which makes this division very tough to predict.
The Rams in my opinion have upgraded their quarterback position by trading Jared Goff to the Lions for Matthew Stafford. Goff reached the Super Bowl with the Rams a few years back but I believe this team has struggled the past couple of years due to his play. I think Stafford is more than capable of utilizing the weapons he has in their passing game like Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.
Stafford hasn’t really been in any big games in his NFL career so it will be interesting to see how he performs in the big moments. Personally, I think Stafford is going to have one of his best seasons and Sean McVay should get the best out of Stafford. The Rams have a very solid defense that’s led by Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, so if they can get the consistent offense they had a few years ago this could be a dangerous team.
My Rams season record prediction 11 wins, 6 Losses
The 49ers are coming off a disappointing season last year finishing the season at 6-10, this was coming off a Super Bowl appearance the year before. The 49er’s season last year consisted of a lot of injuries that plagued their season, especially to Jimmy Garoppola. The injuries to Jimmy G played a factor in the 49ers using the third pick of the draft (which they traded for) on Trey Lance out of North Dakota State.
Kyle Shannahan’s team is very deep and if they can avoid the injury bug they can turn it back around and be a force again in the NFC. They have two really good young receivers with one of them being of course the former Chapman Panther Deebo Samuel and the other is Brandon Aiyuk. They also have a stud Tightend in George Kittle. Whoever is their quarterback should be able to produce numbers throwing to guys like that.
My 49ers season record prediction: 10 Wins, 7 Losses
The Cardinals started last season strong as in their first nine games they were 6-3. The sixth win came after a final second Hail Mary toss-up to DeAndre Hopkins who had a least 3 Bills defenders around him but he somehow caught the ball in the End Zone.
But the season took a turn for the worst after that insane catch as the Cardinals would go on to finish out the season by losing five of their last seven games, which caused them to miss out on the playoffs. It didn’t help them that Kyler Murray hurt his ankle and was not playing at 100 percent the final couple weeks of the season.
The connection between Murray and Hopkins showed to be one of the best quarterback and receiver duos in the game last year and that should be the case again. The Cardinals have done a great job of drafting and developing their young talent, I think this team will be in the hunt for the playoffs for years to come.
My Cardinals season record prediction: 10 Wins, 7 Losses
The Seahawks have the offense to compete with everyone, Russell Wilson is a stud, I am not telling you anything you don’t already know there, but the problem with the Seahawks is their defense is awful. Not too long ago their defense was the best in the league but the Legion of Boom is long gone and the defense will give up a lot of points and yards.
The Seahawks also have offensive line issues as Russell Wilson is constantly running for his life, but with his elusiveness ability, Wilson can get out of the pocket to make plays. Despite their issues when you have a quality quarterback like Wilson you always have a chance to win games.
Seahawks season record prediction: 9 Wins, 8 Losses
NFC South- Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints
The Panthers are still a team in a rebuilding phase under Matt Rhule but they showed some promise at times last year. They enter this season with a new Quarterback as they traded for Sam Darnold. Now as a New York Jets fan, I obviously have seen plenty of Darnold over the past couple years and I do believe that not all struggles with the Jets were his fault. I think if giving a better opportunity he can still be a solid quarterback in this league.
Some things that I have seen on Sam that have to improve is better poise in the pocket. I know the Jets had one of the worst offensive lines so when you are constantly getting hit that is a lot easier said than done. But he does get happy feet in the pocket and throws off his back foot quite a bit, which causes some inaccurate passes. He also needs to be a better decision-maker as oftentimes he will force a pass into coverage and that often leads to a turnover. He has a bad habit of scrambling to the sideline and then throwing across his body over the middle of the field, which is a big no-no and that has a big potential for a pick-six.
I also feel like Sam is at his best when he uses his legs, but for some reason, he doesn’t always seem to take advantage of what the defense gives him. He has a familiar target in Robby Anderson, who the two connected on a few deep balls from their time together on the Jets. He has DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey who he can dump it off to, the point I am making is he has more weapons around him than his time in New York, give him some time and I think he has a chance to succeed with the Panthers.
Like I said this team is still in a rebuilding phase and that will take some time to get out of, I look at this team to be at or near the bottom of the division
My Panthers season record prediction: 6 Wins, 11 Losses
The Buccaneers are the defending Super Bowl champs and they basically are bringing back everyone from their championship team.
Not a whole lot needs to be said about the Bucs their good….. Tom Brady put up huge numbers playing with a torn MCL. The Goat MCL is fully healthy now and the fact he played at such a high level with the injury is remarkable.
The Bucs have the offense and the defense to win the Super Bowl once again and if they do that, they will be the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls in 16 years. Of course, Brady was a part of that accomplishment when he won the Super Bowl in the 2003-2004 season and the 2004-2005 season with the Patriots.
My Buccaneers season record prediction: 13 Wins, 4 Losses
The Falcons after the draft looked like they were going to have a loaded offense with Julio Jones, Russell Gage, Calvin Ridley, and their first-round draft selection in Kyle Pitts. But shortly after the draft, they traded Jones to the Titans and their offense still is pretty solid but isn’t as deep as I thought it would be after the draft.
The Falcons to me have talent and should be better than what their record has been showing the past couple of seasons, but ever since blowing the 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl a few years back this team can’t close games.
They blew four fourth-quarter leads last year that resulted in losses for them, which included blowing a 20 point lead to the Cowboys. Overall, This team has had their chances to win more football games and I think that will be the case again this year they just got to find a way to make one or two more plays to turn those close losses around. The question is can they do that?
My Falcons season record prediction- 8 Wins, 9 Losses
The Saints with Drew Brees were a team that had a chance to compete for a Super Bowl Trophy year after year, but Brees is now retired and they are turning to Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill to be their quarterback.
Now, they did see what life would be like without Brees, who missed several weeks for several broken ribs and Hill was who they turned to be their quarterback and they were still winning games, but the offense was nowhere near as productive as it been with Brees at quarterback.
They will also be without Michael Thomas for the first few weeks of the season due to him recovering from surgery on his foot. Outside of Thomas, the Saints do not have another consisted wideout on the roster so they are probably going to feeding the ball to Alvin Kamara.
If I had to guess I think they will go to Winston to be their quarterback, but I thought they were going to do that when Brees went down with his injuries. I feel the passing game will be much more effective with Winston behind center.
Overall, I don’t expect this team to put up big offensive numbers and their defense is what is going to have to carry them this season.
My Saints season record prediction: 9 Wins, 8 Losses.