Category Archives: nfc west

2012 NFL Team Preview: St. Louis Rams

The St. Louis Rams are still waiting for their former #1 overall pick Sam Bradford to lead them into the playoffs. The young quarterback has been hampered by injuries, but he goes into the 2012 season healthy.

The 2011 season was disappointing for the Rams. They went into the season hoping to win the NFC West, but only ended up winning two games. A few young players shined on offense and defense, but you can’t win many games when you can point out one or two players playing at a high level.

Can Steven Jackson break 1,000 yards rushing for an eighth season in a row? Will this be the year Bradford cements his status as a future Pro Bowl quarterback?

Here is our 2012 NFL team preview for the St. Louis Rams. Continue reading

2012 NFL Team Preview: Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks have looked great so far this preseason. Head coach Pete Carroll has brought his “the best player starts no matter your age or wage” philosophy he instituted as the head coach of USC. Players are doing their best to earn a spot. Does that translate to regular season success? TBD.

Russell Wilson looks to have the edge over Matt Flynn for the starting quarterback job, but it’s still close. Carroll has been known to roll the dice, so the job has yet to be won.

Can Seattle leapfrog San Francisco and win the NFC West…or will you see them picking high in the 2012 NFL Draft?

Here is our 2012 NFL team preview for the Seattle Seahawks.

2011 Win/Loss Record: 7-9

Key Additions: QB Matt Flynn, WR Braylon Edwards, WR Terrell Owens, TE Kellen Winslow, DT Jason Jones, QB Russell Wilson, CB Roy Lewis, OG Deuce Lutui, OT Frank Omiyale, LB Barrett Rudd, LB Bruce Irvin, LB Bobby Wagner, DT Jaye Howard, LB Korey Toomer, CB Jeremy Lane and S Winston Guy

Key Losses: RB Justin Forsett, S Atari Bigby, OG Robert Gallery, TE John Carlson, OG Mike Gibson, DE Anthony Hargrove, DE Raheem Brock, LB David Hawthorne, QB Charlie Whitehurst and LB David Vobora

Non-Division Schedule: AFC East and NFC North

Fantasy SleepersRB Robert Turbin – For the people who draft Marshawn Lynch, Turbin will be his handcuff. He had a solid career at Utah State and should have an impact with the Seahawks. He’s a workout warrior and a very intriguing running back to keep an eye on this season

Team Analysis: Before the 2011 season, one would look at Seattle’s roster and wonder if the team could win a three or four games. They overachieved and ended the season with a 7-9 record. Their defense carried the team, but their offense had a few stars. Marshawn Lynch scored the most points and had a comeback season. Russell Wilson looks great this preseason, but Matt Flynn is making a good amount of money. If Wilson struggles, Pete Carroll could be pressured to put in Flynn. I don’t see Marshawn Lynch duplicating his 2011 season. I could see rookie Robert Turbin getting some carries by the end of the season. The wide receiver situation is a mess. The young guys need to separate themselves from Edwards and Owens. The defense forced a lot of turnovers, but gave a lot of them back on the offensive side. Seattle is lucky they are in the NFC West. There are too many wholes in their offense and defense to win many games. The Seahawks look great this preseason, but bad teams often look better because they play their first teamers longer. Seattle will be picking high in the 2013 NFL Draft.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 7 (Prediction: UNDER)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 4-12

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2012 NFL Team Preview: San Francisco 49ers

Head coach Jim Harbaugh lead the San Francisco 49ers to a 13-3 record in 2011. They were one muffed punt return away from making a Super Bowl appearance.

The 49ers’ defense were the backbone of the team, with their offense scoring just enough to win. Alex Smith had his best season in the NFL, but there is definite room for improvement. He often shied away from throwing to his wide receivers and opted for tight end and running back targets. His group of wide receivers didn’t do him any favors and the 49ers addressed the position this offseason. Randy Moss and Mario Manningham are now there to help boost San Francisco’s passing attack.

The NFC West looks like it will be weak once again. Can the 49ers take advantage of another down year for the division?

Here is our 2012 NFL team preview for the San Francisco 49ers.

2011 Win/Loss Record: 13-3

Key Additions: WR Randy Moss, RB Brandon Jacobs, WR Mario Manningham, QB Josh Johnson, RB Rock Cartwright, OG Leonard Davis, WR A.J. Jenkins, RB LaMichael James, OG Joe Looney, LB Darius Fleming, WR Chris Owusu, S Trent Robinson, C Jason Slowey and DE Cam Johnson.

Key Losses: WR Josh Morgan, WR Braylon Edwards, LB Blake Costanzo, TE Justin Peele, OG Chilo Rachal, S Reggie Smith, C Adam Snyder, CB Shawntae Spencer and Madieu Williams.

Non-Division Schedule: AFC East and NFC North

Fantasy Sleepers: WR Chris Owusu and RB LaMichael James – Alex Smith had a hard time connecting with his receivers in 2011. He used Vernon Davis and Frank Gore as his crutches and Michael Crabtree would often disappear in games. San Francisco signed Mario Manningham and Randy Moss in the off-season, but Signing rookie free agent Owusu was a smart move. He played for Jim Harbaugh at Stanford and should pick up the offensive system fast. He has looked good in the preseason and if he makes the team, he’ll be a nice pickup in the deepest of leagues. LaMichael James would be a nice player to stash away since Jacobs and Gore have had injury problems in the past. Kendall Hunter will be the primary backup, but James is an explosive, speedy talent to keep and eye on.

Team Analysis: The 49ers were THE surprise team in 2011. They were the “this is the year they finally put it all together” team the last four seasons and it finally happened. Although they did benefit a lot from being in a bad division (AFC West), they had a strong non-divisional record of 8-2. Alex Smith will need to put up some numbers and not be a plain quarterback whose only goal is to not turn the ball over. San Francisco has an embarrassment of riches at running back. Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter return with Brandon Jacobs, Rock Cartwright and rookie LaMichael James joining the team this season. Their passing game has some new weapons, but will only be as good as the quarterback whose throwing them the ball. Randy Moss is back in the NFL after a season away from football. He has the same skill-set as newly-signed Mario Manningham, so it will be interesting to see if they use them together. Defense will once again be the backbone of the team. NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith both had breakout seasons with Patrick Willis being his usual self. The secondary benefited from their rush defense and many players had their best season as a pro. I look for the defense to once again be dominant in 2012. I don’t see the 49ers matching their 13-3 record from a season ago. Their non-divisional record is brutal (AFC East & NFC North). They are a playoff team and could lock up a spot early, since the NFC West is looking bad once again.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 9 1/2 (Prediction: OVER)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 10-6

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Seattle Seahawks sign Terrell Owens

The Seattle Seahawks signed veteran wide receiver, and fledgling reality television star, Terrell Owens to a one-year deal Monday night. Owens last played for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010, but his season was cut short due to a knee injury. He has played in the NFL for San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinnati…and most recently, the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League.

Seattle recently released WR Mike Williams and are in need of a big target. Doug Baldwin, Deon Butler, Golden Tate, Sidney Rice, Ben Obomanu, Braylon Edwards, and Antonio Bryant are all in camp battling for wide receiver positions. Baldwin, Tate, Butler, and Rice are locks for a roster spot, but they need a veteran to anchor that group. Edwards, Owens, and Bryant are attractive options, but all three have off-the-field issues. Edwards failed in San Francisco last season and Bryant hasn’t played a game in the NFL since 2009.

Owens ran a 4.5 40-yard time and is in great shape for a 38-year old. He can still produce in the NFL if he can keep his nose clean and stay away from Dr. Phil. He has a great shot at making the team and we hope to see him resurrect his career.

Terrell Owens’ career stats are 1,078 receptions, 15,934 receiving yards and 153 touchdowns over 15 NFL seasons. He is the only player to score a touchdown against all 32 NFL teams.

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2012 NFL Team Preview: Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals finished the 2011 season very strong. In their last nine games, they went 7-2 with four overtime wins. Expectations are much higher this season, but did Arizona just get lucky by winning four overtime games?

Arizona has more question marks than sure things in 2012. The quarterback situation is a mess and the running game will be unpredictable.

San Francisco stepped up and took control of the NFC West last season. With Seattle and St. Louis predicted to have down seasons, can Arizona keep winning close games and become a surprise playoff team?

Here’s our 2012 NFL team preview for the Arizona Cardinals. (I’m sorry the photo I used for this is of a shirtless Larry Fitzgerald, but it’s kind of a running joke on this site)

2011 Win/Loss Record: 8-8

Key Additions: CB William Gay, WR Malcolm Floyd, LB Quentin Groves, S James Sanders, C Adam Snyder, RB Javarris James, OT Bobby Massie and CB Jamell Fleming.

Key Losses: RB Chester Taylor, WR Chansi Stuckey, CB Richard Marshall, OG Deuce Lutui and S Sean Considine.

Non-Division Schedule: AFC East and NFC North

Fantasy Sleeper: RB Ryan Williams – Williams is coming off major knee surgery and will miss at least two games to start the season. I don’t trust Beanie Wells as the starting running back and the Cardinals backup options are a mixed bunch. LaRod Stephens-Howling is small and won’t be getting goal line carries. Williams is a guy you need to circle and keep an eye on his progress.

Team Analysis: Head coach Ken Whisenhunt hasn’t decided who will be the starting quarterback. Kevin Kolb and John Skelton have shared the snaps in camp so far. I don’t trust Wells to stay healthy or Stephens-Howling to be a big factor. The offensive line is improved and should keep the starting quarterback off his back, whoever ends up with the job. Calais Campbell, Adrian Wilson, Daryl Washington and Patrick Peterson will be tested by facing the AFC East and NFC North this year. The schedule is more difficult this year and I don’t see them improving on their 8-8 record last season.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 6 1/2 (Prediction: UNDER)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 5-11

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2009 NFL Preview: NFC West

I recently went through the entire NFL season and predicted every game. I will be using this information as part of my 2009 NFL Preview. NFC West will be the first division that we look at. Will Arizona run away with this division again? Can the Rams turn things around? With Hasselbeck healthy, can Seattle make the playoffs? Can Singletary straight out the 49ers? Check out our NFC West Preview.

Arizona Cardinals– (Projected Finish 10-6)

Arizona made an historic run last season to make it to the Super Bowl. They were just one play away from beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, but luck wasn’t on their side. Kurt Warner’s play was the difference between Arizona being a 6-10 team and an NFC Champion. If you subtract the game against the New England Patriots, Warner had one of his best seasons and Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald were the reasons for his comeback. The wide-receivers were great and even the tight end, Leonard Pope improved as more of an offensive threat. Their running game needed to be improved, so they cut ties with Edgerrin James and drafted Beanie Wells out of Ohio State. Tim Hightower will still be a factor, but they hope that Wells can stay healthy.

The Cardinals defense will be better in 2009. Karlos Dansby had a great year last year and so did Adrian Wilson. Players like Alan Branch and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are a year old and should improve even more.

It is crucial for the defense to step up, since Arizona will be tested a few times this year. They play Indianapolis and Carolina at home, but they have to travel to New York Giants, Chicago, and Tennessee. Those will not be easy games for the Cardinals. They should win the division, though improved a little, but is still very weak compared to other divisions. They will have a target on their backs this season, something that is very new for Arizona.

Seattle Seahawks– (Projected Finish 7-9)

The injury bug took a chunk out of the Seahawks in 2008. Matt Hasselbeck dealt with a back injury throughout the year last season. Their wide-receiving corps were a few men short since Nate Burleson, Bobby Engram, and Deion Branch all miss considerable time. They have all their offensive weapons this year and have even added T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Edgerrin James, and rookie wide-receiver, Deon Butler. They should be much better and will be able to put a lot of points on the board.

Lofa Tutupu will be the anchor of this defense and it should be pretty good. They added Aaron Curry through the draft and will look nice next to Patrick Kerney. Their weakest part of the defense is their secondary. They don’t have the depth that most teams have. Kelly Jennings and Marcus Trufant are good, but after them, there is a drop-off. Teams should be able to pass all over them unless they get can get a consistent pass rush.

Seattle has a very hard non-divisional schedule. They have to play Dallas, Chicago, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, and Indianapolis, all of those games will not be gimmes. They have a distinct advantage with their home field, but many of their tougher games are on the road. I predicted them to be 7-9, but there is probably a 2 game margin of error with that prediction. They will be in a lot of close games, but it will probably take 10 games to make the playoffs in the NFC.

San Francisco 49ers– (Projected Finish 6-10)

Mike Singletary will have an entire season to improved the 49ers, since he took over mid-season last year. He is a disciplined coach and expects the most out of his players. When it played with the Chicago Bears, he was a field general and I expect him to add a few wins to this year’s win total. His quarterback situation is still a mess. Alex Smith is back from injury, but Shaun Hill has been named the starter. You never know what Singletary will do, if both of those quarterbacks see time and struggle, Nate Davis may get a shot. Frank Gore is expected to have a great year, since the wide-receiving corps lacks star power. Their first-round draft pick, Michael Crabtree, still hasn’t sign with the team, so Josh Morgan, Arnaz Battle, and Isaac Bruce will be the starters.

Patrick Willis is a superstar on defense and should be a Defensive Player of the Year contender in 2009. He has been nothing but phenomenal since they drafted him two seasons ago. Takeo Spikes, Dre Bly, and Nate Clements are the three veterans expected to help out this young defense. Ricky-Jean Francois is a rookie out of LSU and could help out a lot, if he can stay motivated.

The 49ers’ first-half of the schedule is very difficult. Their first eight contests have games againt the Colts, Falcons, Vikings, Titans, and Cardinals. The second-half of their schedule is more manageable and should see some wins toward the end of the year.

St. Louis Rams– (Projected Finish 3-13)

The Rams may have trouble at quarterback this season, unless Marc Bulger regains his 2006 form. They don’t have much of an insurance policy, since their only back-up with any NFL game experience is Kyle Boller. They may need to rely on RB Steven Jackson even more than in past years. He will have to carry the load, since Rams don’t have much of a receiving corps either. Donnie Avery is their only receiver with any experience as a starting receiver. They lost Torry Holt to free-agency and didn’t replace his productivity well, they signed WR Tim Carter to fill his spot.

Coach Steve Spagnuolo help lead the New York Giants defense into the playoffs the last few seasons. He loves to blitz and does it very often, but as the new coach of the Rams, he may not have the personnel to accomplish his goals on defense. The best players on defense are still very young. Chris Long, Adam Carriker, and James Laurinaitis are their young gems, but they don’t have much experience. They lack depth at any position and will have a rough time all season keeping the ball in front of them.

The Rams aren’t expected to do a complete turnaround this season. They didn’t go out and sign any big-name free agents and are looking for the draft to build their team. If they can get three wins this year, they should take it. They will have a hard time scoring points and keeping points from being scored. Spagnuolo will try and help the defense any way he can, but unfortunately he doesn’t have Michael Strahan or Osi Umenyiora on his team.
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