Sunday, September 9, 2012

NFL Preview: NFC West

1st Place, San Francisco 49ers: 13-3

Offense: QB Alex Smith, RB Frank Gore, TE Vernon Davis, WR Michael Crabtree, WR Randy Moss, T Joe Staley, C Jonathan Goodwin

Defense: DE Justin Smith, LB Patrick Willis, LB Navorro Bowman, LB Aldon Smith, CB Carlos Rogers, S Dashon Goldson, S Donte Whitner

The 49ers had one big hole in their team last season, and they were still able to come within a few minutes of a Super Bowl birth. This year, they have dramatically improved their receiving group, and now have a plethora of weapons for Alex Smith to use. Their defense returns the same exact unit that was one of the best, if not the best in the league last season. There is some question regarding Frank Gore, who had a miserable second half in 2011, but this team looks better than the one that went 13-3 a season ago.

2nd Place, Seattle Seahawks: 9-7

Offense: QB Russell Wilson (R), RB Marshawn Lynch, WR Sidney Rice, T Russell Okung

Defense: DT Brandon Mebene, DE Chris Clemons, LB Leroy Hill, CB Brandon Browner, S Kam Chancellor, S Earl Thomas

Seattle really reminds me a lot of last years 49ers squad. They have a top notch defense that should keep them in pretty much every game, it's just a matter of whether or not they can come up with enough offensive firepower. They have one proven wideout in Sidney Rice for the rookie Wilson to throw to, but they do have a decent O-Line and a top notch back in Lynch. They should be a +.500 team, but there's really no way for them to knock of San Fran, or make a serious run at a playoff birth this year, barring major injury.]

3rd Place, Arizona Cardnials, 6-10

Offense: QB John Skelton, RB Beanie Wells, WR Larry Fitzgerald, WR Michael Floyd (R), T Bobby Massie (R)

Defense: DE Calais Campbell, LB Daryl Washington, LB Paris Lenon, CB Patrick Peterson, S Adrian Wilson

The Cards will have another rough go of it this year, as they just haven't found a QB to replace Kurt Warner since he left them a few years ago. Kevin Kolb has been a disaster and lost out to Skelton for the QB1 spot, but Skelton isn't a whole lot better. Their running game is also in shambles, as Beanie Wells can't seem to stay healthy, and their O-Line is a work in progress. Defensively they're average, as they can turn the ball over, but really don't stop teams consistently.

4th Place, St. Louis Rams: 3-13

Offense: QB Sam Bradford, RB Steven Jackson, WR Steve Smith, G Harvey Dahl

Defense: DE Chris Long, DE Robert Quinn, LB James Laurinaitis, CB Janoris Jenkins, S Quinton Mikell

The Rams are in a similar boat as the Cardinals. They have a solid QB, and a nice running back but their O-line and receivers won't allow those two to work like they can. Defensively, they have holes all over the place, as they don't generate a lot of pass-rush and don't do a great job against the run. Their secondary looks a little better this time around, but not good enough to overcome the other shortcomings on defense.

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