Editors Note: With Dayna out on medical leave for a week, our good friend Pattie Cabrido stepped in to cover the NFC West. Give her a follow on Twitter! Thank you, Pattie!
If the season were to end today, the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Rams would be playoff-bound, with all three teams coming out of week 7 with five wins. The 49ers are not far behind, and by the true end of the season, it’s definitely a possibility that the entire NFC West finds its way into playoff spots under the new 7-team model. This is quite the stark change from the days when the Seahawks won the division with a 7-9 record.
Yes I realize we are going into week 6 so the first quarter of the season has already come and gone, but as I’ve always said, you don’t really know who a team will be until week 6, so I’m glad I waited.
The first few weeks in the NFC West was wild, but things are starting to settle in. We are starting to get a feel of what we can expect from these four teams, some good, some not so much. Is it still the best division in football? Well, it’s no NFC East (kidding) but I’d still have to say yes.
Let’s take a look at the NFC West and how they have fared after 5 weeks of the 2020 season.
I think the NFC West may be trying to give their fans heart attacks. All four games had major drama, including an almost huge comeback, a last-minute win, a surprise loss, and a team who won’t give up.
The Seattle Seahawks sit on top of the division, still undefeated, while the Los Angeles Rams, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Arizona Cardinals all sit with just one loss. In a season where one game can change everything, let’s take a look at what the week 3 games meant in the toughest division in football, and where they are heading.
“Living in the Wild Wild West. The Wild Wild NFC West!” Ok, that may not be the exact lyrics to the 1988 Escape Club hit (Oh yeah, I went there) but it fits this season’s NFC West quite perfectly.
The NFC West has gotten rave reviews through the first two weeks of the season and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. MVP level play from Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Insane defense from Aaron Donald and the rest of the Los Angeles Rams. Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray making that huge 2nd-year leap. And San Francisco doing what they often do…defying the odds in spite of mounting injuries.
Quarterback Jared Goff is overrated. He gets paid too much. The Rams are a poorly managed team. LA will fall in 2020.
These are just a handful of comments that have surrounded the Los Angeles Rams since last season. Is it warranted? The last time LA faced Dallas, they allowed the Cowboys to run all over them. However, in the home opener this past Sunday, the Cowboys faced a much different Rams team.
Will this silence the haters? Winning a home opener in a brand-new stadium with no fans against the heavily favored team?
The key to opening with a win depended on whether or not the Rams would be able to hold running back EzekielElliott. Last season, he ran all over LA, but there’s a new sheriff commanding Dallas – the pass rush happy new head coach, Mike McCarthy. I smile as I write this – if you’ve read my Green Bay Packers articles over the years, I don’t hide the fact that I would’ve liked to see him move on eons ago.
LA’s rookies came to play Sunday. Getting the start at wide receiver, Van Jefferson set up a turning point play with just two minutes left in the first half, allowing kicker Samuel Sloman to make a 31-yard field goal extending the Rams’ lead 13-7. He also was in the top three targets favored by Goff.
The standout rookie, to me, was safety Jordan Fuller. Not only did he record five solo tackles and three assists, but he also made a game-changing play when he stopped Cowboys rookie wide receiver, CeeDee Lamb, just one yard short of the line to gain on 4th and 3 from the Rams’ own 11.
New kicker Sloman fared ok. While he missed the early 29-yard field goal, he ended the game making his other two field goal attempts and went 2 for 2 on his extra-point attempts. I imagine that donking your first shot in your first pro-start would be hard to overcome mentally, so I DO give him credit for the way he came back from that. I still would like a stronger kicker in place, though.
Los Angeles is favored for a Week 2 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
I’ve written before how the NFC West is considered one of, if not the most competitive divisions in football. The first week of the 2020 season should highlight why so many see it that way.
A divisional matchup, a game against an NFC favorite, and a mentor/mentee coaching battle, early games, late games, primetime games…Week 1 has a lot going on for all four teams. And in this division, one that could be decided by a very small margin, every game counts. Let’s take a look around Week 1 in the NFC West.
Most agree this is the toughest division in football. It has produced the NFC Champion 4 out of the last 7 seasons, and many think that with the expanded playoffs, the NFC West could end up with three teams in the postseason.
Going into the 2020 season, this is also one of the hardest divisions to predict. You have the growth of a second-year QB and massive offseason additions in Arizona. There are the questions surrounding a Super Bowl hangover, and a growing list of injuries in San Francisco.
The Los Angeles Rams dropped off in 2019 after their Super Bowl loss, but are looking to rebound strong. And then there is the Seattle Seahawks with their elite QB and break out wide receiver, but that defense was seriously questionable.
What can we expect from all of this? Let’s take a look.
In this edition of the OTFB Fan Forum, I decided to have everyone take a look at this odd offseason. The all-virtual, Zoom edition of an offseason.
Since free agents weren’t allowed into any facilities, it made signing them more difficult for teams. Rookies weren’t allowed anywhere near the rest of the team until training camp. It was a little weird. I was curious about how our forum members thought their team faired. Did they improve? Get worse by losing important pieces? Did they make any moves at all?
Or, seeing as the circumstances were, well… unusual, did they just hang on?