By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG
There are 9 teams in the NFL that are 2-0 going into week 3 of the 2019 season, with 5 being in the NFC, and 3 of them are in the NFC West. No other division can make that claim so that makes one wonder, will the NFC West be the best division in the league in 2019?
Yes, its only 2 weeks in. Yes, one could say that the NFC has had an easy start to their schedule. However, neither of these questions takes away from the fact that the NFC West is winning and sometimes winning big.
When people discussed the NFCW during the preseason, there were lots of questions. Could the Los Angeles Rams come back from their Super Bowl loss and be just as dominant? Will Seattle’s defense recover from losing the Legion of Boom and will quarterback Russell Wilson start throwing the ball more? Could the San Francisco 49ers be a contender with a healthy QB and team? Could a new head coach and rookie QB be the spark Arizona needed to save their team?
The answer to all of these questions, so far, has been a resounding yes.
Now I’m going to get to Arizona here in a minute, so don’t jump all over me quite yet, but let’s start with the other questions first.
The LA Rams are 100% as advertised… exciting offense, stout defense, and a vibrant head coach. The defense hasn’t allowed a single touchdown pass yet this year, and only one throw for over 20 yards. Now some may say that the offense may need to step it up a bit, with QB Jared Goff only having thrown for 2 touchdowns, but what they are doing is working.
The Rams won a hard-fought battle against the Carolina Panthers, and handily beat the New Orleans Saints (QB Drew Brees was out, yes, I get it). Up next are the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before they head to Seattle in week 5.
The Seattle Seahawks are quieting all the doubters. QB Russell Wilson has thrown for 5 touchdowns and has had 0 interceptions. The game plan has changed slightly, where the team is still a run-first team, but they seem to have let Wilson take over and throw when he wants to. The defense is solid and moving up to great. While the secondary isn’t at LOB levels, it has greatly improved, and the addition of outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney has bolstered the line amazingly well.
Seattle has beaten the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburg Steelers, but face the New Orleans Saints this week. Even with Brees out, the Saints are still very talented. It will be a good test.
During the preseason, the 49ers were often left out of the “top of the division” conversation simply for one reason: No one knew what they would get this year. Injuries destroyed the team in 2018, and because of that, no one knew exactly what QB Jimmy Garoppolo would bring to the table. After two games, we are starting to get an idea, and it’s all good!
Unfortunately, there have been some injuries that have hit the team already, but they seem to be bouncing back from those. They have had a relatively easy schedule, but have had very strong wins over the Buccaneers and Bengals. I’m sure fans would like to see Garoppolo clean up a few mistakes, he has 2 interceptions, but they have to be thrilled with the way the season is looking so far. They will play the Steelers (without QB Ben Rothlisberger) and the Browns in San Francisco over the next two weeks.
And now we get to Arizona. I know what you are thinking, but slow your roll for a minute. I didn’t say they were good. I said that the head coach and the rookie QB were providing a spark. This is, without question, a rebuilding year for the Cardinals. I think everyone understands that. But what we have seen out of their tie game against the Lions, and the loss to the Ravens (which was a much closer game than many thought it would be), is that this team isn’t a disaster.
They’ve shown they know how to come back at the end of a game. They have shown that their brand new, start from scratch game plans have some solid merit to them. Their next two games will be tough, they play against the Panthers and Seahawks, but I think it will be fun to watch this team develop. Just keep QB Kyler Murray healthy, please.
Let me know what you think. Could the NFC West be the best division in the league this year? I’d love to hear why you agree or disagree.
Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG