1 – Los Angeles Rams
The defending Super Bowl champions are certainly a team that could contend again this season. Cooper Kupp, Jalen Ramsey and Matt Stafford are all back for another year and new additions such as Bobby Wagner and Allen Robinson can help in a big way as well. The NFC West is still a competitive division, but we’ve got the Rams winning it for a second straight year. The skilled roster and experience just gives them enough of an edge over any other team in this division.
2 – San Francisco 49ers
The Niners made it all the way to the NFC Championship game last year before losing to the Rams. After such an exciting postseason run, this group will look to prove that it wasn’t just a fluke beating Dallas and Green Bay on the road. The biggest question for the team is at the Quarterback position. Trey Lance is beginning the season as the starter, but the team did keep Jimmy G around as the backup just in case. Clearly, the team knows how to win big games without stellar quarterbacking, but it’s yet to be seen if Lance can grind out wins the way Jimmy did.
3 – Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are a total wild card heading into this season. They could win the division, but they could also miss the playoffs entirely. We saw this kind of unpredictability last season with their fantastic start and very disappointing finish. Sure, some of that could be explained by Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins’ injuries, but even when Kyler came back, things were not the same for Arizona. The Cardinals were eventually eliminated from the playoffs in a 34-11 blowout versus the Rams. Can the team survive with Hopkins suspended for the first six games and bounce back from last year? We’ll find out soon.
4 – Seattle Seahawks
The Russell Wilson era is over in Seattle and things may not be the same in the PNW for a while. Geno Smith has been announced as Seattle’s starter and will lead a young but hungry team into a tough NFC West. Seattle does have weapons around Smith, but the departure of Wilson as well as long time star linebacker Bobby Wagner will certainly not help the Seahawks. Fortunately, the team seems to be only a few moves away from a positive outlook again and if they were to finish in the bottom five this season, they could address their largest issue in next year’s QB-heavy draft.