No Sleep Till Football

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2016 NFC WEST PREVIEW & PREDICTIONS

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Predicted # of Wins: 12-13. Offensively the Seahawks take on somewhat of a new identity now that Marshawn Lynch has retired. The offense really does ride on the shoulders of Russell Wilson & the Seahawks will live & die by that plan. Wilson played arguably some of the best QB play we’ve ever seen in Seattle’s last 7 games completing 71% of his passes with a 24 to 1 TD to INT ratio & averaging 272yds/G. I think Seattle finds a more useful way to involve Jimmy Graham as well adding more to the arsenal. Seattle did an interesting thing by drafting 3 RBs this past season while still having Thomas Rawls & Christine Michael. The offense is certainly Wilson’s, but the Seahawks would rather not try to make him into a Tom Brady/Peyton Manning QB. They want a run heavy offense. There has to be some concern with the offensive line. It is projected to be downright awful and Wilson isn’t exactly a big guy. Defensively the team is insane & returns pretty much intact. I wouldn’t expect a dropoff. If Seattle shows up for the first two quarters against Carolina in the divisional game, they probably make it to their 3rd straight Super Bowl. Don’t expect the playoff letdown or the slow start to the season.
#2 Computer Hope Predicted # of Wins: 11-13. Arizona fielded the #2 offense in the NFL, just 0.7 points per game behind #1 Carolina. The Cardinals pretty much have every offensive weapon you’d need. Carson Palmer put in an outstanding year last year. The O-Line is outstanding. The receiving corps is very deep and very reliable especially with the ageless Larry Fitzgerald causing havoc from the slot. You might not think it could get better, but RB David Johnson might be on the verge of becoming the best RB in the league & if that happens then the offense takes on a whole new dimension of freakiness! An every down back that can burn you in the pass game, he’ll be brutally hard to defend. Defensively the Cardinals didn’t do much with rushing the passer, but they picked up Chander Jones from New England in a trade & drafted Ole Miss DT Robert Nkemdiche. Calais Campbell is a great pass rusher & Arizona is littered with fantastic defensive playmakers such as Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Deone Bucannon & Markus Golden. The thing with the Cardinals is the health of Carson Palmer. It killed them in 2014 & Palmer got nicked up a bit at the end of 2015. For them to have a chance, he needs to be at 100% all season.
#3 Computer Hope Predicted # of Wins: 4-5. Every franchise needs a frachise QB and the Rams had finally given up hopes that Sam Bradford would be that guy. Jettisoning Bradford to Philadelphia for Nick Foles wasn’t the answer so the Rams went all in on Cal QB Jared Goff as the team moves back to Los Angeles. What is painfully apparent so far is that Goff isn’t ready to be an NFL QB so the Rams will most likely lean on Case Keenum. This might not be awful. Todd Gurley is arguably the best RB in the game & I think the Rams have some solid receiving options. The O-line is a complete mess, but LA will have to address that problem in subsequent drafts. Defensively the Rams are outstanding up front with Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn, William Hayes & Michael Brockers. Moving Mark Barron to LB was a savvy move & LA is set at CB with Lamarcus Joyner & Trumaine Johnson. The safeties & LBs are a sore spot but LA ranked 13th last year in points allowed & should be better. Donald is emerging as JJ Watt’s only competition for best DL in the league. I have the Rams taking a step back because Goff is going to be a presence all season. If Keenum were left alone they might reach the 6-8 wins mark, but Goff plays.
#4 Computer Hope Predicted # of Wins: 2-4. Good bye Jim Tomusla…Hello Chip Kelly! The 49ers ranked dead last in the NFL in scoring averaging 14.9PPG in 2015 en route to a 5-11 finish. That’s hardly the days of Joe Montana & Steve Young! It doesn’t really matter how good of an offensive genius Kelly may or may not be. There is no talent on offense in San Francisco so expecting the 49ers to score might be expecting a bit too much. Blaine Gabbert isn’t the answer to any pro football question & the only valuable assets they have on offense are Carlos Hyde & Joe Staley. SF’s big draft day splash on offense was wasting a 1st round draft pick on G Josh Garnett! So far that doesn’t bode well for Kelly’s tenure. Defensively, the 49ers look a bit better off. They were dealt a very tough blow with NT Ian Williams got hurt. He’ll miss the season and Glenn Dorsey is projected to start for him which is a bad tradeoff. There is some young talent on defense though. Aaron Lynch, Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Jimmie Ward & Eric Reid all have solid upside. Throw in Navorro Bowman & SF has 6 very good starters on defense. It won’t be enough to overcome the offense though. SF has a lot of rebuilding to do & could get the #1 pick in the ’17 draft.
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August 27, 2016 - Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, NFC, NFC West, NFL, Predictions, Previews, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks

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