2009 Standings at Season’s End
This division was pathetic last season, but we aren’t here to talk too much about 2009. The Cardinals won the division last year, and look to be the front runners for taking the title in 2010 as well. The 49ers will probably be able to provide the most competition of any other team in this division, but again, top to bottom this is the worst division in the NFL. Let’s continue looking deeper to find out if there is a silver lining anywhere in this great cloud of the NFC West.
I’m pretty glad that I waited until later to do my 2010 Arizona Cardinals predictions because there was a heated battle for QB going down in the desert. Matt Leinart bowed out, although not graciously, and Derek Anderson slid into the starter’s spot. The Cards got a serious downgrade at QB, but I think that says more about Kurt Warner’s talent than Derek Anderson’s apparent lack of it. Warner’s absence will cause the whole offense to sputter, and the team is already a little downgraded at wide receiver. Larry Fitzgerald is still one of the best WR’s in the league, but Steve Breaston is not a perfect replacement for Anquan Boldin. The RB situation is still a little murky, leaving this team with just too many unanswered questions. They are strong defensively which should allow them to easily blow through their division, but they will face some tough tests this year which won’t help their overall record.
Arizona Cardinals 2010 Prediction
The Cardinals who have depended on a solid offense the past couple of years will struggle, I don’t think anyone doubts that. The real question will be whether their defense is good enough to make up for the lack of offense. They should easily win the division, but their 9-7 record won’t have anyone predicting their return to the Super Bowl, especially considering that more than half of their wins could come at the expense of the NFC West.
San Francisco 49ers
This is a young, talented team and in all honesty, if it wasn’t for Alex Smith’s lack of performance over the years, I would predict the 49ers to win the NFC West. However, the QB is the leader of the team, and without a way to get the ball to Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, their talent will just go by the wayside. Frank Gore will benefit from having Brian Westbrook on the team, and should be able to learn a lot from the veteran. The Niner’s defense should be good enough to keep them in most of their divisional games, but that is about where it will stop.
San Francisco 49ers 2010 Prediction
This team will be lucky to match their record from last season (8-8) and will finish far out of the playoff discussion. This team could be fun to watch, so please don’t take my prediction as a wish for them to fail, but this team just doesn’t quite have all the pieces in place to make a legit playoff run. This team will finish 7-9.
Matt Hasselbeck returns under center for the Seahawks, who recently saw TJ Houshmanzada, one of their top receivers get cut by the team. They still have Deion Branch who was a Super Bowl MVP, but that was about 5 years ago and he doesn’t have Tom Brady throwing to him anymore. This team probably has the best chance of challenging the Cardinals for the NFC West title thanks to their experience, but their defense needs a lot of work. Again, there isn’t an offense in the NFC West that will blow you away, so they have a legitimate chance at winning most of their inter-division games. It’s been a while since the Emerald City has seen any NFL hope, and honestly it will be another couple years before they are ready to contend.
Seattle Seahawks 2010 Prediction
For some reason, this team is one of the toughest to predict. If all goes well, they have a legit shot at taking down the Cardinals atop the NFC West, but then again, if just one or two of the pieces fall out of place, this team could be bumping elbows with the Rams down in the cellar. As a self-proclaimed optimist, I say they finish 8-8, just shy of the Cardinals.
St. Louis Rams
Steven Jackson. This should be the new name of the Rams, because they honestly don’t have anyone else on this team. Their top draft choice in 2010 was Sam Bradford, so they have some hope in the future, but this team was arguably as bad as the Lions were in 2008 before drafting Matt Stafford. Despite all the hubbub, they only won a pair of games last season, so we shouldn’t put too many eggs in our Bradford Basket. I will admit that I don’t follow the NFL as closely as some, and certainly not the Rams, but if you offered me a million dollars to name a WR from the Rams, I would just have to walk away. If they can keep this team together for a couple of years, they could be something great. They just have to take care not to let this team get too discouraged as young teams are prone to do.
St. Louis Rams 2010 Prediction
New QB = 2 more wins, but inexperienced offense = 1 more loss. The Rams shouldn’t finish a whole lot better than 2-14, although they have the potential to win 4. This team will be woeful to watch, and their showdown in week two against the Raiders will be my early frontrunner for worst game of the season.
2010 NFC West Predicted Final Standings
- Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
- Seattle Seahawks (8-8)
- San Francisco 49ers (7-9)
- St. Louis Rams (2-14)