We simply cannot wait for the new NFL season to start, and we are counting down the days until the very first kick off. If you are like us and love the NFL, then you definitely need to have a read on below, as we take a look at each and every team from the NFC West and analyze their chances for success in this brand new season.
The Arizona Cardinals rolled to their best start in 47 years with seven consecutive victories to open the 2021 season. However, the Cardinals dropped four of their final five games to finish the regular season with an 11-6 record. Although Arizona advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2015, the Los Angeles Rams dealt the Cardinals an embarrassing 34-11 setback in the Wild Card round.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury is just 24-24-1 heading into his fourth season and could lose his job if Arizona suffers a late-season collapse for a third straight year. The Cardinals’ defense has an array of question marks and matching last year’s win total will be a challenge.
Pro Bowl quarterback Kyler Murray struck gold in the offseason with a new contract that guarantees the former Heisman Trophy winner $160 million. But with WR1 DeAndre Hopkins serving a six-game suspension to start the season, Murray will be directing an offense without its biggest playmaker.
Bringing the heat to #HardKnocks 🔥
Coming this November on HBO/HBO Max pic.twitter.com/z1dDLN4G76
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) May 23, 2022
Former Baltimore Ravens wideout Marquise “Hollywood” Brown joins incumbent receivers A.J. Green and Rondale Moore to form an uninspiring receiving corps. Veteran tight end Zach Ertz caught a franchise-record 54 passes in just 11 games and will be an integral part of the passing game. Running back James Conner and USC rookie Keaontay Ingram will be the featured running backs.
The loss of edge rusher Chandler Jones in free agency was a massive blow to a defensive unit that wilted down the stretch last season. Arizona drafted a pair of defensive ends in the third round, Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders, to backup J.J. Watt and compete for playing time.
Veteran outside linebacker Markus Golden tallied 11 sacks a year ago and could be joined on the outside by fifth-year linebacker Dennis Gardeck. Long-time cornerback Patrick Peterson signed with the Minnesota Vikings which will put pressure on second-year pro Marco Wilson. The Cardinals have some serious issues on defense that will prevent the franchise from taking a step forward this season.
Los Angeles Rams
The 2021 Los Angeles Rams opened the season with a 7-1 record before a midseason hiccup resulted in three straight losses. But the Rams reeled off five wins in the final six games to claim the NFC West crown.
Los Angeles went 4-0 in the playoffs, including a trio of three-point wins, to capture the franchise’s second Super Bowl title. Sixth-year head coach Sean McVay’s squad has the look of a team that could win back-to-back Super Bowls, but three narrow playoff wins in 2021 suggests that it will not be easy.
Veteran quarterback Matt Stafford returns for his second season with the Rams but must reduce his league-leading 17 interceptions. Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp enjoyed a magical season a year ago with 145 catches, 1,947 yards, and 16 touchdowns to earn NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors.
🗣️ SQUUUUAAAD pic.twitter.com/Jm0Uozgbdn
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 30, 2022
Former Chicago Bears wideout Allen Robinson inked a three-year deal to join the Rams’ high-powered offense. Former second-round pick Cam Akers will be the featured back with Darrell Henderson and Notre Dame rookie Kyren Williams also in the mix for carries.
The Aaron Donald-led defense lost pass rusher Von Miller, in free agency, but still should be stout with the addition of linebacker Bobby Wagner. Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, who tallied 9.5 sacks last year, returns for his third season in Los Angeles.
Cornerback Darious Williams signed a $30 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars and will be replaced with Troy Hill. The Rams bring back a solid team on both sides of the ball and are more than capable of repeating as Super Bowl champions.
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers 2021 season started on a winning note with two straight victories. But the 49ers dropped five of their next six games to fall to 3-5 at the midway point of the season. San Francisco rebounded to go 7-2 and advanced to the playoffs with a 10-7 card.
The 49ers knocked off the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers to reach the NFC Championship Game. However, a narrow loss to Los Angeles ended their season. San Francisco remains a solid squad that will contend for the NFC West title if second-year quarterback Trey Lance fulfills his potential.
Lance will direct one of the NFL’s top rushing attacks. Former sixth-round draft pick Elijah Mitchell, who tallied 963 yards last season, headlines a backfield that also includes Pro Bowl fullback Kyle Juszczyk, Trey Sermon, and rookie Tyrion Davis-Price.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) August 29, 2022
The ultimate Swiss Army knife Deebo Samuel returns after tallying more than 1,500 receiving and rushing yards a year ago. Tight end George Kittle and wideout Brandon Aiyuk combined for 127 receptions for 1,736 yards and 11 scores last season. The offensive front is a concern with the sudden retirement of Pro Bowl center Alex Mack.
The 49ers will trot out of the league’s best defensive units again in 2022. Pro Bowl defensive end Nick Bosa racked up 15.5 sacks last year and San Francisco added USC pass rusher, Drake Jackson, in the second round. An impressive defensive front also includes Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw.
A strong linebacker corps boasts Fred Warner, Azeez Al-Shaair, and Dre Greenlaw. Veteran safety Jimmie Ward anchors a solid secondary that features cornerbacks Ambry Thomas and Emmanuel Moseley. San Francisco is a legitimate Super Bowl contender if their young signal-caller continues to grow and limit his turnovers.
The Seattle Seahawks celebrated the opening of the 2021 season with a road win over the Indianapolis Colts. Unfortunately, the Seahawks suffered eight losses in their next 10 games and endured the franchise’s first losing season since 2011 with a 7-10 record.
The outlook in Seattle received a massive blow when future Hall of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos during the offseason. The Seahawks are in a rebuilding mode and will be hard-pressed to match last year’s win total.
Veteran signal-caller Geno Smith won the starting job over former second-round pick Drew Lock, but expect both quarterbacks to see time under center this season. Seattle will lean on its running game which features a pair of impressive young running backs. The 2018 first-round pick Rashaad Penny tallied 749 yards and six touchdowns in just 10 games a year ago.
Continue to work. pic.twitter.com/5iB1P6PTjq
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) August 31, 2022
The Seahawks drafted Michigan State All-American Kenneth Walker in the second round, who gained 1,636 yards and found the end zone 18 times during his final collegiate season. Wideouts DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett combined for 148 catches for 2,142 yards and 20 touchdowns last year. Former Denver tight end Noah Fant is also in the mix for targets this season.
The Seahawks released long-time linebacker Bobby Wagner, who signed with the Los Angeles Rams. Former first-round pick Jordyn Brooks is expected to take over Wagner’s role on a defensive unit that has struggled in recent years. Brooks set a team-record last season with 184 tackles. The linebacker corps also includes free-agent Uchenna Nwosu, Cody Barton, and Darrell Taylor.
Former Denver lineman Shelby Harris joins Al Woods, Quinton Jefferson, and Poona Ford in a battle for playing time. Former Pro Bowl safeties Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams headline a secondary that includes cornerbacks Artie Burns and rookie Coby Bryant. Seattle is in for a tough season and advancing to the playoffs will be an impossible challenge.
When the 2022 NFL season does eventually kick off, make sure SportsTips is your go-to destination for NFL picks. We will provide NFL picks for each and every game of the season from our experts, so you can place your bets with more confidence!