NFL Training Camp Primer: NFC West
Are the 49ers a lock for the division crown again in 2020? We don't think so.Findbet continues our tour of NFL training camps as we approach the start of the NFL season. Let's take a look at the headlines coming out of the NFC West and make our record predictions for 2020.
Seattle's wide receiver room will look a bit different in 2020. AP Sports
The NFC West is one of the hardest divisions to predict this year. All four teams have improved and have the potential to be division champs, so expect the fight for this crown to go right down to the wire. Seattle gets the edge this year because of their late season trade for Jets safety Jamal Adams. He is one of the best safeties in the game and immediately gives that Seattle defense a lift. Russell Wilson will continue to be one of the most clutch quarterbacks in the game, and the emergence of DK Metcalf last year at wide receiver gives the Seahawks the edge over the 49ers this year in a tiebreaker. Josh Gordon and the team have agreed to a one year contract as he's been reinstated from suspension by the league and will look to carve out a role. Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde will be the primary backs as Rashaad Penny will start the year on the PUP list. This prediction was by far the hardest.
Prediction: 11-5 (Division Champ)
George Kittle will be a huge part of the 49ers offense this year. Bay Area News Group
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers were 15 minutes away from being Super Bowl Champs in February, but couldn't hold off a late charge from Patrick Mahomes & Co. The 49ers return most of the core that got them to the Super Bowl with an elite defense led by Nick Bosa and a potent offense managed by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Running back Raheem Mostert will start the year atop the depth chart, and will look to pick up where he left off in the playoffs last season. The 49ers wide receiver situation is a little more bleak as Deebo Samuel will start the year injured which will put added pressure on first round pick, Brandon Aiyuk, to perform early. The 49ers will once again be a formidable opponent, and a deep run into the playoffs is not off the table for 2020.
Prediction: 11-5 (Wild Card)
The Rams Defense looks to rebound in 2020. Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams took a step back in 2019 after their Super Bowl loss to the Patriots. They struggled on offense and their defense wasn't as dominate as it had been in previous seasons. Jared Goff regressed from his stellar 2018 campaign, and Sean McVay seemed to have issues adapting to how teams were adjusting to his offensive scheme. The Rams, trying to rectify their salary cap issues, traded away Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans and allowed longtime kicker, Greg Zuerlein, to sign with Dallas in the off season. Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey lead a defense that should help keep them competitive in games, but if Jared Goff doesn't return to his 2018 form, the Rams will miss the playoffs for the second year in a row. This division is just too tough.
Kyler Murray needs to continue to progress for the Cardinals this year. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Kyler Murray has one year of NFL experience under his belt and if the Cardinals plan on becoming a contender for the division crown in 2020, he will need to make a huge leap in his sophomore season. The Cardinals went out and traded for DeAndre Hopkins, shipping running back David Johnson back to the Houston Texans. Hopkins joins a wide receiver room that already included Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald. Kenyan Drake returns after signing his transition tag and will be the starter with promising backup, Chase Edmonds, behind him on the depth chart. The defense gets an infusion of talent with the addition of Clemson star linebacker, Isaiah Simmons, who could be an elite play maker right out of the gate. This division is just too competitive this year to see the Cardinals finishing any higher than 8-8. The future is bright, and this team has all the tools to make some noise in the coming seasons.
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