The NFC West has been by far the most competitive division in the NFL this season. The Seahawks currently sit atop the division with a 7-3 record, the Rams hold second place with a 6-3 record, the Cardinals hold third with a 6-4 record and the 49ers are in last with a 4-6 record. This division may not be decided until the last two weeks of the season, as this division can still be won by anyone. But who has the best chance of winning the NFC West this season?
Super Bowl Contending Seattle Seahawks?
The Seahawks went off to an impressive 5-0 start to the season. Russell Wilson was looking like an MVP candidate and DK Metcalf was looking inhuman. That all changed when they lost to their division rivals Arizona Cardinals during Week 7 of the season. Since then the Seahawks have gone 2-3, but still maintain control of first place of the division after defeating the Cardinals on Thursday Night Football.
The Seahawks defense looked better on Thursday compared to the last four games in which they had given up an average of 33 points. If the Seahawks want to win the division and gain home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs, their defense needs to stay consistent. The addition of defensive end Carlos Dunlap has been great to the team as he had a solid game against the Cardinals on Thursday. Linebacker Bobby Wagner is also starting to show improvement after a shaky start to the season.
The Seahawks next six games will be against five teams who are under .500. If the Seahawks can get five wins in their next six games, we can see them take the division and home field advantage come the first round of the playoffs.
Can Hail Murray Lead His Team to the Top?
There is no surprise that the Arizona Cardinals are one of the most exciting teams to watch this season, mainly because of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. When it was announced that Hopkins was coming to Arizona, it shocked most of the football world. Many did not understand why the Texans can give up a player like Hopkins, and Hopkins did not disappoint. This year so far Hopkins has 72 receptions, 912 yards gained and four touchdown catches. One of those touchdown catches was a Hail Mary throw by Murray to grant the Cardinals the win against the Bills during Week 10 of the season.
After a decent start to the season, the Cardinals have just gotten better as the weeks went on. Murray has been receiving MVP talks after his Hail Mary throw, which many are comparing to Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary throw against the Lions back in 2015 that won the game for the Packers. He ranks second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 10, only trailing Vikings running back Dalvin Cook by two touchdowns. However, Murray seemed to suffer from a shoulder injury that impacted the running game for the Cardinals against the Seahawks on Thursday.
The next two games for the Cardinals will be crucial, as they will play games against the Patriots and division rival Rams. After playing against two NFC East teams the Cardinals will end the season with two NFC West games, which can be the game deciders of who will take the NFC West this season. The Cardinals have a harder road to the NFC West Championship, especially with Murray nursing an injury. It will all come down to Week 16 and 17 for the Cardinals as they continue to fight for a high seeded playoff spot this season.
Do not Sleep on the Rams
The Rams have not been the team that people have anticipated they will be. They are 6-3, currently second in the NFC West. After losing running back Todd Gurley in the offseason, no one knew how the Rams can replace him, until Malcom Brown and Darrell Henderson Jr. The running back duos have been a huge influence on the Rams offense, which combined has given the Rams nine rushing touchdowns and 833 rushing yards.
Jared Goff continues to have a good season with 213 completions, 2,447 passing yards and 13 touchdown passes so far this season. The Rams stunned the Seahawks during Week 10 when they limited the Seahawks to only 16 points. The defense did an amazing job maintaining Metcalf, Lockett and the whole Seattle offense who have had so much success this season.
Four out of the next six games for the Rams will be against NFC West teams. The Rams will host the Seahawks on Week 16, then will verse the Cardinals on Week 17. It will be a nail-biting finish on who will get the NFC West division with both the Cardinals and Rams having very similar schedules. However, do not be surprised if the Rams pull an up setter and get the wild card spot in the playoffs over the Cardinals this season.
The Banged-up 49ers Can Make a Final Push to the End
The 2019 NFC Championship 49ers have not had the season they wanted. Due to several injuries to the team, the 49ers have just not been able to pick up from where they left off last season. After losing wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in the offseason and Richard Sherman on the IR for an injured calf, it has been tough for the 49ers to recover.
Jimmy Garoppolo has been one of the players who has suffered injuries this season. After suffering a sprained ankle during Week 2 against the Jets, Garoppolo has only been able to play in six games this season. The one consistent player for the 49ers this season has been running back Jerick McKinnon who has given the 49ers some hope for the season. He so far has 294 rushing yards, 12 receptions, five rushing touchdowns and one touchdown pass.
The 49ers will not be an easy win for the other three teams in the NFC West who are looking to take the division. The last two games will end with games against the Cardinals and the Seahawks. Look out for the 49ers to make an upset and turn the division around. They might not have a good chance for the playoffs this season, but they surely be a team that can end a season for one of the top three teams in the NFC West