Thursday, September 9, 2010

NFC West Preview

Finally, we arrive at the NFC West, to end our 2010 NFL Division-by-Division preview/predictions.

1st Place, San Francisco 49ers

Offensive Players:
QB Alex Smith
RB Frank Gore
WR Michael Crabtree
WR Ted Ginn Jr.
TE Vernon Davis
RT Anthony Davis (R)

Defensive Players:
DE Justin Smith
NT Aubrayo Franklin
LB Manny Lawson
LB Patrick Willis
CB Nate Clements
FS Dashon Goldson

The Niners enter 2010 with their best, most complete team since 2002, and they're hoping this is the year they end their 8 year playoff drought. Alex Smith takes back over at QB after a very nice finish to last season, and he's finally got a few throwing options to look to in pro-bowl tight end Vernon Davis, and stud 2nd year wideout Michael Crabtree. They also have a new dimension in their backfield, as they've added Brian Westbrook to help Frank Gore carry the load. They also added speedy receiver/returner Ted Ginn Jr. to stretch out defenses and provide them a possible kick-return threat. The Niners real strength though, lies on defense. It's not coincidence either, as they're head coach was known as one of the best defensive players in NFL history, and he's got a lot of talent on that side of the ball to work with.

2nd Place, Seattle Seahawks

Offensive Players:
QB Matt Hasselbeck
RB Justin Forsett
RB Julius Jones
WR Deion Branch
TE John Carlson
LT Russell Okung (R)

Defensive Players:
LB David Hawthorne
LB Lofa Tatupu
CB Marcus Trufant
FS Earl Thomas (R)
SS Jordan Babaneaux

The Seahawks seem to have a new swagger a attitude under head coach Pete Carroll, but that doesn't change the fact that they have a suspect running game, a thin receiving corps and an aging QB. I really don't see why they decided to cut their best offensive player, T.J. Houshmandzadeh. I really don't see much logic in that move right before the season like that. They have some bright young players on the defensive side of the ball, including linebacker Lofa Tatupu and rookie safety Earl Thomas. Only question on defense for them is if they're going to generate any pass rush. If Hasselbeck can return to his 2007 form, and one of their running backs emerges as a regular starter, then they could surprise, and I wouldn't put it past them with Pete Carroll running the show.

3rd Place, Arizona Cardinals

Offensive Players:
QB Derek Anderson
RB Tim Hightower
RB Beanie Wells
WR Larry Fitzgerald
WR Steve Breaston
LT Levi Brown

Defensive Players:
DT Darnell Dockett
DE Calais Campbell
LB Joey Porter
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
SS Adrian Wilson

The Cards have a pretty stout defense, but they lost a huge piece of their puzzle this offseason when Kurt Warner retired, leaving them with a big mess at the QB spot. They had such little confidence in former 1st rounder Matt Lienhart, that they flat out released him a last week, leaving the quarterback duties to Derek Anderson, who's coming off a dreadful '09 campaign (3 TD/10 Int, 888 yards in 8 games). If Anderson can revert to his 2007 pro-bowl form though (29-19, 3,787 yards), then the Cards will be alright, but that's a big if. Then again, I don't think they expected that rejuvination out of Kurt Warner when they added him in similar fashion a few years back. They do still have the freak, Larry Fitzgerald at wideout, who I still think is the best in the league when he's healthy.

4th Place, St. Louis Rams

Offensive Players:
QB Sam Bradford (R)
RB Steven Jackson
WR Laurent Robinson
RT Jason Smith

Defensive Players:
DE Chris Long
LB James Laurinaitis
FS Oshiomogho Atogwe
SS James Butler

The Rams used their the #1 pick in April's draft to grab QB Sam Bradford, and they're hoping he can take right off in his rookie year like Matt Ryan did a few years back with Atlanta. He does have a sound running back to ease the pressure in Steven Jackson, but the Rams are paper thin at wideout, leaving Bradford without many legit targets to throw to. They're hoping Laurent Robinson grabs the role of #1 wideout, but he's a #2 or 3 in a good offense. They also have some questions up front on their O-line. Defensively, they have just as many questions. They'll be slightly better than last year (1-15) but not much.

(R) indicates Rookie

Upcoming BASJ Posts:
Friday- NFL Playoff and Awards Predictions
Saturday- 49ers/Seahawks Preview, Raiders Preview
Sunday-49ers/Raiders/NFL Kickoff recap

No comments: