NFL fans rejoice, the 2021 season is just on the horizon. It’s the last month without football until March. Regardless of what team they root for, they widely remain optimistic that this is their year. Even the pessimistic fans are hopeful enough, besides their team has yet to lose a game this season.
While there are a few questions left to be answered around the league, it’s never too early for bold predictions for each of the NFL’S eight divisions. Here are those predictions for the NFC West.
NFL’s Best Defense
That in and of itself isn’t a bold statement given that the three-time defensive player of the year and a perennial 99 overall Madden-rated Aaron Donald plays in this division. But this season with the moves made by the other teams on the defensive side of the ball and players returning and healthy. One unit that was as good as, if not better than the Los Angeles Rams not that long ago, before the injuries decimated them last season, the San Francisco 49ers, are gunning for and will achieve the best defense distinction once again, with Nick Bosa playing a big part in it.
A Small Step Back
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who spent about half of the offseason vocalizing his frustrations with the organization and their personnel decisions. All seems to have simmered down and Wilson seems to be satisfied for now and is ready to get to work. This season through no fault of his own, but rather the competition league-wide, the consistent MVP candidate will be left out of the conversation.
Welcome to L.A.
Arguably the biggest transaction this offseason was the swapping of former No. 1 overall draft picks. The Rams traded Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Matthew Stafford. Stafford will benefit from the Rams established receiving corp. As a veteran who has had success in Motown although it doesn’t show in his win-loss record. It also helps that the Rams defense will limit the opposing teams in the points they score, so Stafford won’t have to be playing catch-up which was the case in Detroit more often than not.
The biggest addition in Arizona last season was elite wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins who in a trade with the Houston Texans, who only cost the Cardinals an oft-injured running back. Hopkins made an immediate impact as expected, and will continue that this season. This season’s shiny new former Texan is Pro Bowl defensive end J.J. Watt, who quickly decided on Arizona after being released by the Texans in a salary cap dump. Watt paired with Chandler Jones, in front of a secondary led by Budda Baker will be a recipe for success in the desert.
Return to Glory
After the encore to playing in the Super Bowl was a season marred with injuries, the 49ers will win this highly contested division, regardless of which quarterback starts more games because of their defense. The Rams and Cardinals will battle for the wildcard spot, with L.A. edging them out due to the tiebreaker. Keeping the possibility of a Super Bowl matchup in their own stadium against their stadium mates, the Los Angeles Chargers, alive.
Arizona could sneak in as well if another team in the NFC falls apart in the waking weeks of the season. The Seahawks will miss the playoffs, leading to an even more frustrated Russell Wilson at the season’s end.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images