2020 NFL season preview: NFC West

The NFC West has been probably one of the best divisions in the NFL over the last decade as we have seen this division make the Super Bowl five out of the last ten years. 

This season may be more interesting than first thought. While you have two teams that look like they are ready to make deep postseason runs in Seattle and San Francisco, Arizona and Los Angeles may have something to say about that. The predictability for this division is almost set in stone but do not count the Rams and Cardinals out quite yet.

1. San Francisco 49ers (2019 record: 13-3)

The Niners built their team off two core principles, defense and a strong offensive line. This led them to reaching the Super Bowl for the first time since 2012. Although San Francisco ultimately fell short last year in the Super Bowl, and some have written them off as getting a case of the “Super Bowl hangover,” this team is ready to go after it again in 2020.

Most of the key defensive players, minus DeForest Buckner are back. Nick Bosa is going into his sophomore season after a stellar rookie season, George Kittle is going to continue to be dangerous, and Jimmy Garoppolo proved many doubters wrong last year and will look to do it again in 2020.

This team has all the weapons necessary to make another deep run at the Lombardi Trophy — expect them to be a constant presence in the playoff picture for years to come. 

David Church

2. Seattle Seahawks (2019 record: 11-5)

Seattle certainly exceeded expectations last season after dealing with a heavy blow of injuries to key offensive players like Rashaad Penny and Will Dissly. Along with the classic struggle of a sluggish offensive line, Seattle relied on the arm of Russell Wilson and a breakout season from DK Metcalf. 

This season will hopefully see a Seattle team looking to be the same force they were back in the days of the “Legion of Boom”. The Seahawks will have one of the most dangerous trios of wide receivers this season with the reinstatement of Josh Gordon. Wilson will have a great selection of receivers to pick from with Gordon, Tyler Lockett, Metcalf, Dissly and former Panther, Greg Olsen. 

With their stacking of the cards on the offensive end, they also made some key moves on the defensive side of the ball to help combat a lackluster defensive season last year. The key signings being Pro Bowler, Jamal Adams, along with a ball hawk in Quinton Dunbar. 

The biggest question for this team will be the offensive line as they have been one of the worst in the league. If they can get their act together and the new additions to the team can get their act together, they are certainly going to give the Niners a run for their money.

Collin Fewkes

3. Arizona Cardinals (2019 record: 5-10-1)

Don’t let their previous year’s record fool you, the Cardinals could very well make some serious noise in the NFC West this year. Reigning Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray is poised to build off his stellar performance and he will have a new No. 1 target to throw to in DeAndre Hopkins.

Hopkins came over to Arizona via trade, where the Cardinals committed highway robbery by only giving up running back David Johnson and a second-round pick. However, that’s not the only new weapon coming to the valley. The Cardinals had a stellar 2020 draft, topped off by selecting defensive stand out Isaiah Simmons with the eighth overall selection. 

There are still some question marks both on the defensive line and the offensive line. Murray was the most sacked quarterback in 2019, and other than edge rusher Chandler Jones, Arizona does not have a stellar defensive line group that can rush the quarterback.

This defense will give up points and will have struggles, but expect the offense to be firing on all cylinders if Murray is on, and running back Kenyan Drake can wreak havoc on opposing defenses — both with his feet and his hands in the passing game. 

David Church

4. Los Angeles Rams (2019 record: 9-7)

The Rams are a shell of their former selves but they are making a turn for the positive this season after making the Super Bowl just two years ago. In a signing that did not shock too many football experts, running back Todd Gurley was shipped to Atlanta. Their star running back was too high of a price tag for the Rams to pay and they sent him on his way to go play with the Falcons. But as the old saying goes, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” This Gurley move was a step in the right direction.

Los Angeles is turning to rookie Cam Akers to carry the ball this season and Sean McVay thinks quite highly of his newbie. Jared Goff described the rookie as being “a three-headed monster.” As in he will block, run and catch. Another perk this season is that the Rams have decided to keep some key guys around.

Cooper Kupp and Jalen Ramsey both recently signed extensions to their contracts to lock them down. Plus, they have the best defensive player in the league in Aaron Donald. I expect the Rams to make a few more signings because they could use another top receiver to help take the pressure off Kupp. This team is not the same they were in Super Bowl LIII but they are just a few players away from being real contenders in the NFC West again.

Collin Fewkes

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