The NFC West is a very competitive division almost every year. While the top spot switches regularly, its usually true that there is a heated battle every year for that spot. This breeds strong rivalries between the teams, but there is one rivalry that has been the most fierce. Seattle and San Francisco.
While the Los Angeles Rams and the Arizona Cardinals have done their fair share of winning within the division, it hasn’t fostered the same level of disdain that the Seahawks and 49ers have for each other. Fanbases, teams, front offices…it goes deep. And come next Monday night, the rivalry will again be on full display for everyone to see when these teams face each other on Monday Night Football.
It has been said a lot this week that the NFC West could be one of the most competitive divisions in the league. With San Francisco being undefeated, both Seattle and Los Angeles right in the thick of it, and Arizona beginning to shine, the NFC West isn’t a division anyone else in the league wants to face anytime soon.
Looking at week 8, two of the teams face opponents that are struggling to find wins, the other two face teams that will give them some serious competition. By the end of the week, will we still believe in the strength of the division? Let’s take a look at this week’s matchups.
I’m going to be straight with you. The subject of this article is quarterbacks and that isn’t usually my favorite subject to write about. I am a defense lover and don’t try to hide it.
However, when looking at the NFC West, one can’t ignore how the division is being dictated by the success, and lack thereof, of the quarterbacks. Because 3 of the 4 teams have fantastic defenses, its the consistency of the QBs that is really what the season will come down to. Lets take a look at these QBs and what they are bringing to the table.
There is a reason Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is constantly in the conversation for MVP this season. He is playing the best football of his career, and Seattle is benefiting greatly from it.
After the Thursday night game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks, the NFC West got really interesting. With the slugfest that happened in Seattle, it showed that fighting for every game is going to be key in this division. San Francisco 49ers are on top of the division, but with their early bye week, they have a very long road of games ahead of them. Arizona is still trying to find their identity, but if they figure it out, they could play spoiler down the way.
I decided to get a second opinion on the division and thought who better than Bill Alvstad. Bill hosts The Hawks Playbook Podcast along with Keith Myers, and I have to say, if you want brutal honesty, they are the guys to talk to.
I started with the Thursday night game, asking if Bill thought that Seattle had taken over as division favorites or if it was still way too early to tell. He said he didn’t think so.
The San Francisco 49ers are the lone remaining undefeated team in the NFC, and they stayed undefeated by staying home. It was the dreaded week 4 bye for the 49ers, but it worked out well for them. They headed into their week off on top of the division, and are still sitting there and the end of it.
While San Francisco didn’t have to do anything to stay in their top spot, the rest of the NFC West played what turned out to be important games in week 4. An inter-division match up in the desert between the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals, and what many thought would be an easy win in Los Angeles for the Rams…that turned into a slugfest.
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.
The NFC West is known as one of the best divisions in football, but, on occasion, can have a slow start to a season. While some of the teams seem to have gotten a good draw for week 1 of 2019, you can never count out an underdog.
I asked the fans who they thought would win each of the NFC West games this week, and the results aren’t really a surprise.
LA Rams vs Carolina Panthers Sunday, 1p ET
The injury report for the Los Angeles Rams is exactly how head coach Sean McVey drew it up during the preseason. No Injuries Listed. By sitting his starters all preseason, McVey made it clear he wasn’t taking any chances for week 1, and it worked. Carolina, on the other hand, has 2 on their injury report, defensive end Bruce Irvin and tackle Greg Little, both listed as out.
Fans don’t seem to think the Rams will have the same “shaking off the rust” issues that the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers did in Thursday night’s opener.
“Just don’t let anyone get hurt”. That is the motto of most fans during the preseason. Unfortunately, injuries do happen, and they can make a huge impact on a season. This year, many teams have tried to minimize season impacting injuries by having their starters sit, but that doesn’t always work. Now that preseason is halfway over, let’s take a look at where the NFC West stands with injuries.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have completely changed the structure of preseason football. They have sat all offensive starters for every game and have no intention of playing them in the preseason. The formula has worked well for Los Angeles, but it isn’t perfect.
One of the nice things about covering both the AFC and NFC West teams is in the preseason is they usually play each other. It makes it easy to do a weekly preseason round up, but it also makes for a very long article. Stick with me, people.
Week 2 of the preseason gave most fans a good look at their backups. And yes there were lots of mistakes, but…its preseason. Let’s take a look at the games played so far.
When people talk about NFL stars who were found in the late rounds of the draft, there are a few names that are always brought up. Tom Brady, Richard Sherman, Bo Jackson, Terrell Davis… it’s a long list. The western divisions in both conferences have a tendency to find these players regularly and turn them into superstars. Let’s take a look at this year’s picks and see if there could be another future star.
You can find an entire list of AFC draft picks for each team here.