After going to the Super Bowl two consecutive years representing the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks look to remain the team to beat not only in the West division but the entire conference. The off season watched a team that lacked solid tight end play go after the leagues best in Jimmy Graham. This is a move in most opinions that will keep the Hawks above the division,and team’s now having to game plan for three of the leagues most dangerous offensive weapons.The first being quarterback Russel Wilson , who will get his pay day and remain in Seattle, so don’t kid yourself thinking any different. Then of course the beast himself has been resigned Marshawn Lynch, so this is a stronger team adding Graham and we all know they will be a good defense as usual.
The Arizona Cardinals find themselves with many question marks with the moves that they have made this off-season, more particular what they did in free agency. General Manager Steve Keim seems to find a diamond in the rough thru draft picks and aging free agents every year, and it will be another gamble with the same methods going into this season. The method of short prove it deals to veterans has worked the last two years. Now this off-season, veterans Cory Redding, Sean Weatherspoon, Corey Peters and Lamar Woodley have all been signed and will look to be the next Larry Foote and Karlos Dansby gems. The question is can this repeated method push the Cardinals to the next level? which is the level where the reining division champs have been for three straight years. Did the Cardinals do enough to catch up to the Seahawks? Most would say no, after the rumored deal of running back Adrian Peterson never transpired. A move like that would have absolutely put them at least in the same conversation. Not sure if the next man up mentality will repeat itself, but good coaching and sound veterans can make a big difference together. Division winning level play may hinge solely on the health of the starting quarterback all year.The Cards did sure up the front line signing free agent Mike Iupati and drafting D.J Humphries with their first draft pick. This should allow them to establish a running game and Keep Carson Palmer up right. Still a good team on paper and being healthy, but the “if’s” could go either way like hit and miss.
San Francisco 49ers:
The San Francisco 49ers will be the mystery team this year in the division, as they have gone thru an over hall of their entire team. Starting with the biggest piece, losing Head coach Jim Harbaugh to the college ranks. Then of course all the roster moves that leaves one shaking their head as to where this team is headed. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be the focal point of the offense now that running back Frank Gore has moved on. The off-season for Kaepernick consisted of work-outs with ex-Cardinals star quarterback Kurt Warner, how that will translate to the field is left to be determined. The struggling young quarterback will try and get back to the level that stole him the starting job a few years ago from Alex Smith. Weapons to throw the ball to will be a major concern, and of course can Carlos Hyde be the featured back? Many questions on offense and also on defense after losing key players to retirement and other issues. Look for this team to be finding their collective way throughout the entire season, and Kaepernick being the catalyst for success or failure.
St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams may very well be the most improved NFC west team, but they always seem to improve in every area except quarterback. It has been well documented that this team is only a consistent quarterback away from rising in this division, Sam Bradford finally shipped out and another question mark brought in puts the Rams pretty much in the same boat. The draft yielding them another college dominant player in rookie Todd Gurley, and this could be the move that actually puts the team in contention. If the Rams can run the ball and make Nick Foles a game manager, they will be able to make some surprising noise in the division. The Rams already give every team in the division fits with their nightmare defensive line, and it doesn’t matter where they play.
Grades have been handed down and prediction have started, judging from the off-season it looks like the division will play out as such; Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, 49ers. The season has to be played and nothing is ever won on paper, but according to teams having gotten better in the off-season this could be the most likely scenario.
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