We are in the middle of the pre-season. I’m getting excited about the regular season starting. With that in mind, I present for your approval, or scorn, my NFC West preview. Let’s face it, the division isn’t good. Or I should say it wasn’t good last year, it was painful. They were a combined 22-42 last year. That’s awful actually. You can almost argue that this division will come down to the last few weeks to determine a champion, and I agree. It’s was so bad last year that the team who screwed up the least won the division. Harsh words? Yes. I’m keeping it short and sweet. Let’s begin.
Fresh off a very surprising appearance in the Superbowl, they should be carrying a swagger and a chip on their shoulder. That chip is more like a boulder now because they have the Superbowl hangover to look forward to. You know the one, where every team that finishes 2nd in the Superbowl has an awful, injury plagued, or scandal ridden (Anquan Boldin) season and rarely makes it back to the playoffs the next year. I believe they’ll make it back this year to the playoffs because they are the best team in the division on paper.
– A high powered offense that features arguably the best receiver in the game right now.
– A running game that is trying to be more like Pittsburgh’s smash mouth style.
– Defense is out to prove that their late season surge wasn’t a fluke, and that they can do better middle of the pack in this up-coming season. They are motivated.
– One disgruntled, very good receiver named Anquan Boldin who still wants out despite playing the good soldier.
– An aging starting quarterback who when he’s brilliant is among the best, but can be subject to Favre-like collapses in games.
– A back-up quarterback on the verge of becoming a first round bust.
– Superbowl hangover
Last year they went 9-7. This year I predict 10-6 and a division win. They won’t get past round 1 of the playoffs.
San Francisco 49ers:
Mike Singletary is taking his tough guy, no nonsense coaching style into its first full year. Hopefully there will be no mooning of players, or making players cry. They have a capable offense, and a defense that should improve this year. They know who will be their starting quarterback, and we know they have a pretty good running back in Frank Gore, and a sleeper in rookie Glen Coffee who’s making the most of his reps in the pre-season. Gore will be the engine of this offense, and as he goes, so goes the team.
– Frank Gore.
– Their defense wasn’t bad last year, they were 7th in the NFC in yards allowed, and #9 in sacks. They should get better with the injection of attitude Singletary is sure to bring.
– Having a clear starting quarterback, and one Vernon Davis who doesn’t want to be labeled a bust.
– Their starting quarterback is Shaun Hill. He’s okay. Their backup is Alex Smith: a bust.
– Frank Gore has been plagued by injuries so far in his career. If he goes down, they lose.
– Defensive line is mediocre at best.
They went 7-9 last year and at best I think they’ll go 7-9 again this year and miss the playoffs.
The Seahawks were a consistent team, and a consistently on top of this division for years. They look to return to form this year with the return of Matt Hasselbeck, the addition of Edge, and the ego of T.J. Houshmanzadeh. They have a solid defensive line, and a leaky secondary which could prove to be their weakness as they were next to last in yards allowed per game in the NFC last year. Hasselbeck is always consistent when healthy, and the addition of Edgerrin James just made it easier for him to find his open receivers. T.J. won’t be able to live up to the bold predictions he’s making because now he’s the top man, he doesn’t have Ochocinco on the other side receiving a lot of the defense’s attention. Edge will provide a veteran who can pick up blitzes better than Julius Jones and that’s needed with the injuries to their offensive line.
– Matt Hasselbeck is back. T.J. Houshmanzadeh is talking trash. Edgerrin James is in the building.
– Lofa Tatupu is their middle linebacker. Patrick Kerney is their best defensive end.
– Their defense.
– T.J. Houshmanzadeh’s bad Chad Ochocinco imitation.
Well, it has to get better than last years, right? Right? They went 4-12 last year without a healthy Hasselbeck. They’ll go 6-10 this year, though my gut really says they’ll go 5-11.
St. Louis Rams
Okay, I tried but I can’t come up with anything. They are bad. They only team that did worse was Detroit. When your best player, Steven Jackson, is the only player that defenses respect and nobody else makes them pay, you will lose; a lot. Donnie Avery is the only legit receiver so far, and he’s injured for the beginning of the season. It’s going to be a long first year for Steve Spagnuolo.
-Steven Jackson. Tye Hill. Donnie Avery.
-The rest of the team.
They will somehow find a way to win 3 more games than last year and finish at 5-11. Good lord.