SEATTLE are odds on across the board in the NFC West but does Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) see value in the Seahawks?
NFC West | 11th September 2016
Has Bruce Arians assembled his perfect team? An explosive and devastating offence which can hurt in so many ways. A punishing defence that will see Tyrann Mathieu return from his second torn ACL, possibly the most complete defender in the NFL.
Patrick Peterson will once again anchor the secondary and if Arizona struggled with a pass rush at times last season they have more than addressed that by going out and getting Chandler Jones from New England. A guy with 36 sacks in the last four seasons.
It is on offence that the Cardinals really stand out. David Johnson had a stellar 2015 season and should see the ball 15-20 times a game. That makes him an outstanding fantasy pick and what makes him an elite player in his position is that he is possibly the best pass catching running back in the game.
The rushing game will be backed up well an outstanding receiving corps. Larry Fitzgerald is getting better at the age of 32 and he is ably assisted by Malcolm Floyd and John Brown. Not many better 2 and 3 receivers around anywhere.
The biggest question for Cards fans and backers must be the Quarterback. At 36 Carson Palmer is certainly not going to improve but you have to say he was outstanding for 16 games last season. I’m not sure he didn’t fold a little when the post season arrived but I have a feeling Arians will manage him better this time around.
Prediction: 12-4 and deep into the playoffs
Los Angeles Rams
The team formerly known as the St Louis Rams return to the city of angels after 21 years. They are certainly under a lot of pressure. Just being based in that city means the spotlight is on them.
They also have the misfortune of being owned by Stan Kroenke, the man who allows Arsene Wenger to remain manager of Arsenal and protect Stan The Man’s millions. Oh and they also have as Head Coach, Mr 7-9 himself Jeff Fisher.
The good news, apart from being this year’s turkey on Hard Knocks is that they got Todd Hurley. Despite having the best young running back in the game, the Rams ranked 32 of 32 on offence last season. Having used the first pick in this years draft on Quarterback Jared Goff, they will start the 2016 season with Case Keenum under centre.
Having released Jared Cook and with no proven wideout, unless you count Tavon Austin as proven, this season will be about Gurley and defence. That’s not something that will play well in the crowded sports market of the Los Angeles area.
There are some great things about the Rams defence, not least of which is Aaron Donald. That young man has a valid claim to be a player in this years defensive MVP chatter. However, a lot of talent has been lost on that side of the ball. James Lauenitis will leave a huge hole. I would not be putting too much money on a winning season for a team that many will nominate as a dark horse
Prediction: What else but 7-9 and goodbye Jeff
San Francisco 49ers
What the hell has happened to this football team? In the last three seasons since being beaten in the 2013 Super Bowl, this organisation has imploded on a scale rarely seen in the NFL. Blain Gabbert is their starting Quarterback for Christ sake.
Colin Kaepernick is on some weird journey of mental hair and refusing to stand for the national anthem. Oh that will play well in the good old U S of A. His self destruction is a fairly good representation of what has happened in San Francisco since 2013.
Jim Tomosula lasted just one season in the hot seat somehow winning five games. I’m going to carry this on as I started by the way. I see nothing but doom for this team.
Anyway. so after the disaster that was the short lived reign of Coach Tomosula, the club has decided that the man to sort this mess out is Chip Kelly. Yep, THAT Chip Kelly. The guy that has just been run out of Philadelphia. This is the man meant to restore the glory days of Joe Montana, Steve Young and Jerry Rice.
Chip was not exactly popular in Philly. They are an odd bunch in that city and failed to be entertained by his apparently entertaining brand of football. In relation to Kelly, entertaining apparently means players not having a clue what they are doing. Roy Hodgson with a headset. Sorry for the lack of detail here but 2015 and its five wins could end up looking like the good old days by the time 2016 draws to a close.
Prediction: Most likely to get the first draft pick of 2017
There is more to come from this team. A lot more. After two Super Bowls, last year felt like a failure for them. Only making the playoffs is now seen as nothing for Seattle and even a 10-6 record was felt unacceptable by the infamous 12th man.
I believe this organisation can take those minor disappointments in their stride along with more major issues such as the off season retirement of Marshawn Lynch.
They will still run Arizona close as having the most complete squad in the NFL. What may have slipped past many during that ‘disastrous’ 2015 is the continued improvement of Russell Wilson. Despite being let down by a porous Offensive Line, Wilson was the highest rated Quarterback in football with a passer rating of 110.1.
Thomas Rawls looks like he can fill the enormous gap left by the disappearance of Beast Mode. Rawls looks like his natural successor with Christine Michael looking as though he may fulfill his enormous potential. Pete Carroll’s boys look well set for a longer run this season than last. All the way to the first Sunday in February?
The defence is as ever led by Richard Sherman’s mouth, Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor et al and has been strengthened by the return of Cornerback Jeremy Lane from New England and acquisition of Tackle J’Marcus Webb.
In truth, it was really only the major issue of the O Line that needed huge work and Carroll has changed pretty much every player or position. A first round draft pick was spent on Right Guard Germain Ifedi from Texas A&M. If Seattle gets this part of its team right, they will be very difficult to stop.
Prediction: 13-3 and a very deep playoff run