The NFC West saw a big change of power with the Los Angeles Rams jumping from one of the league’s worst teams to one of the best. For what feels like the first time in years, the lights will be shining on the newly-led Niners and Rams rather than the Seahawks and Cardinals.
- 9-7, no playoffs for the first time since 2011 season
- Offensive rankings: 11th in points scored, 15th in yards recorded
- Defensive rankings: 13th in points allowed, 11th in yards allowed
- Turnover Differential: +8 (8 in league), 25 takeaways, 17 turnovers
- Brandon Marshall, Barkevious Mingo, DJ Fluker, Ed Dickson
- Kam Chancellor (retired, still on roster), Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman, Cliff Avril, Jimmy Graham, Sheldon Richardson, Paul Richardson, Thomas Rawls
- RB Rashaad Penny, DT Rasheem Green, Shaquem Griffin
The Seahawks are a great representation of how quickly things can change in the NFL. After appearing in back-to-back Super Bowls from 2013-2014, it seemed like they would be on top of the West for a long time to come. Fast forward a couple of years, “The Legion of Boom” is all but gone and Seattle’s outlook for the upcoming season isn’t exactly bright. This defense isn’t what it was, especially without Earl Thomas, who still hasn’t reported to camp. More worrisome is their lack of protection up front; it’s been the same story for multiple seasons, but Seattle simply hasn’t done enough to improve their offensive line. The Seahawks only had one rushing TD from a running back all season last year — they need to help Russell Wilson before carrying the load inevitably becomes too much to handle.
San Fran 49ers
- 6-10, won last 5 games with Jimmy Garoppolo
- Offensive rankings: 20th in points scored, 12th in yards recorded
- Defensive rankings: 25th in points allowed, 24th in yards allowed
- Turnover differential: -3 (T 20), 20 takeaways, 23 turnovers
- Richard Sherman, Weston Richburg, Jerick McKinnon, Jonathon Cooper, Cedric Thorton, Will Sutton
- Carlos Hyde, Trent Brown, C Daniel Kilgore
- OT Mike McGlinchey, WR Dante Pettis
The 49ers had another year to forget until they acquired Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots. They rattled off five straight wins with him at QB, and he had the best Quarterback rating in the last five weeks of the season. Five of their 10 losses came by three points or less; with Garoppolo at the helm, they scored 11.8 more points per game. Simply put, all eyes will be on the new face of the franchise as second-year Head Coach Kyle Shanahan will look to lead his 49ers to the postseason for the first time since 2013.
- 11-5, lost Wild Card
- Offensive Rankings: 1st in points, 10th in yards
- Defensive rankings: 12th in points allowed, 19th in yards allowed
- Turnover differential: +7 (T9), 28 takeaways, 21 turnovers
- Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, Sam Shields, Aqib Talib, Brandin Cooks
- Robert Quinn, Alec Ogletree, Tavon Austin, Trumaine Johnson, Sammy Watkins
- No first or 2nd round picks. OT Joseph Noteboom, C Brian Allen
Led by first-year Head Coach Sean McVay, the Rams returned to the postseason for the first time since 2004. Todd Gurley had his best year as a pro and will have the privilege of running behind the same exact offensive line that helped boost the Rams offense to one of the worst in the league to one of the best in just one season. In addition to their high-powered offense, the Rams’ defense added three players with 12 combined pro bowl selections (Talib, Suh, Peters). They have four all-pro’s on their defense, most of any team in the league. The Rams are a legit Super Bowl contender heading into the 2018 season.
- Offensive rankings: 25th in points, 22nd in yards
- Defensive rankings: 19th in points, 6th in yards allowed
- Turnover differential: -4 (T23) 25 giveaways, 21 turnovers
- Sam Bradford, Mike Glennon, Justin Pugh, G/T Andre Smith, Brice Butler, Benson Mayowa, Tre Boston
- Adrian Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Jaron and John Brown, Justin Bethel
- John Rosen, Christian Kirk
The Cardinals were Super Bowl contenders just a couple of years ago before going 7-8-1 and 8-8 in 2016 and 2017. Now, Head Coach Bruce Arians is gone, starting quarterback Carson Palmer is gone, and their new coach hasn’t been a head coach since 1999′ when Steve Wilks led Savannah State. The Cardinals were 25th in scoring after finishing top 6 in the previous two seasons. New draftee Josh Rosen will sit behind Sam Bradford, whose only played a full 16 games twice in 7 pro seasons. I think the Cardinals are one of the biggest question marks heading into the season, as stud running back David Johnson returns with fresh legs in hopes of carrying the full load going into his 3rd season.