Part 3 to the Nostradamus effect is here, this version will be focusing on the NFC west. This division is home to the SF 49’ers, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams. Based on last year’s numbers this was the weakest division in the NFC. We all know how the teams ended and of course many were shocked by the 49’ers, leaving some to wonder can the Bucs turn around the franchise with a new coach like SF did? Well we shall see soon enough.
We start in rainy Seattle with the Seahawks who had a serious need on defense to fill with some of the FA vacancies mainly Hightower to the Saints. Seattle’s defense was actually a strong point for the team finishing in the top half of all NFL teams. Seattle did lose a key LB but they did make some pretty good moves to upgrade the team overall. They appear to have an affinity for former Bucs players in that they signed LB Barrett Ruud, RB Kregg Lumpkin, traded for TE Kellen Winslow. They also went out and got a QB that could change their offense, which is where the Seahawks are weakest, that of course being Matt Flynn. Curiously though they also drafted QB Russell Wilson, these two QB’s couldn’t be any more different. The Seahawks made some pretty bad moves this offseason as well though with the drafting of Bruce Irvin, but they made up for it with a really good complimentary back to Marshawn Lynch by drafting RB Robert Turbin.
My prediction for Seattle they take a slight step back going 6-10. No major changes other than some alternating QB play between the 3 potential starters.
We head over to the Arizona Cardinals next, one of the few places in the country where grass simply doesn’t grow (the only real places is by the airport and the stadium) and you are nodding in agreement if you have ever been. The Cardinals are a middle of the road team in terms of offensive and defensive production. However numbers aren’t everything, I think they have a pretty good defense it’s being disguised by the fact that they needed some key upgrades on the D-line particularly a pass rusher, which they failed to really address. They did however get some help for WR Larry Fitzgerald by drafting Michael Floyd. That position is now one of strength for the team since that allows the bracket coverage to split to cover yet another good receiver, also the upgrades to the O-line will help their starting QB (insert name here) to have a little more time to throw it to one of them. The problem in Arizona is not defense and not the rest of the offense but one very key position QB, they have not gotten quality play out of Skelton or Kolb and hopefully one of them can step up to the plate.
My prediction for Arizona is that they will remain a middle of the road team in a weak division until they get the “franchise QB” they need. They finish at 8-8. The main thing is this though they bet the farm in next year’s draft by moving up to get their “franchise QB”.
St. Louis used to have the greatest show on turf; last year though looked like they were trying to move to LA. What a tough year for this team and their fans finishing the season 2-14. A new coaching staff and some big off season spending may be the answer they needed, or at least the hope the fans need to restore faith to a losing franchise. They added someone many Bucs fans wanted in CB Courtland Finnegan; they also added some other key elements on defense with drafting of DT Michael Brockers and surprisingly CB Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins has had some issues but has been touted as a top tier CB. The Rams approach was to balance the needs they had on offense as well adding WR Brian Quick and RB Isaiah Pead to give QB Sam Bradford some much needed weapons. With that though this is a season for Sam Bradford to really step up, no more excuses and just like Freeman in Tampa it’s time to “nut up or shut up”. The success of the organization is riding on Bradford’s arm, can he deliver?
My prediction is that the Rams are building a competitive franchise but Sam Bradford can’t get it done. This team finishes 3-13 and draft Matt Barkley in next year’s draft.
San Francisco the “city of brotherly love” or is that Philadelphia? Well let’s move on anyways. The 49’ers came out and shocked football fans EVERYWHRE including their own fans. What a turn around this franchise made its story book type stuff and the thing writers eat up and can’t stop writing about. The 49’ers had an outstanding defense that they managed to keep intact during the offseason and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that they think they can win the SB this year, and with good reason. They made improvement where they needed it in the offense by adding some through the draft WR A.J. Jenkins, RB LaMicheal James and a key addition on defense by drafting S Trenton Robinson. This team is STACKED in a lot of ways, they are balanced and they have the coach and leadership to get it done, but can they?
My prediction is that this team very clearly wins the division again and this team will move very deep into the playoffs again. They finish 13-3 but my main prediction is that next year they draft a QB or get one in FA I Think it will be Mark Sanchez.
That is all for now. This segment we will have a poll on who would win the division. Please leave your comments below as to why you think the division will finish like it does.