NFC West to Go Down to the Wire

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The NFC West is renowned as one of the most competitive in the NFL and after a busy off-season for all involved, 2021 looks unlikely to be any different.

Sean McVay leads the LA Rams into the new NFC West season

Unlike some of the other divisions in the NFL, the NFC West is closely contested most years, and the 2021 season should be no different.

The division is one of only two, along with the NFC South, in which all of its teams have appeared in a Super Bowl at least once since the 2002 realignment.

The Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Fransisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks will all fancy their chances of topping the pile, and here we analyse each team’s chances.

Stafford the Key for the Rams

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay finally has the cannon-armed quarterback he has been looking for to fit his offence.

Matthew Stafford joined the Rams in a trade from the Detroit Lions, with Jared Goff going the other way.

Stafford should make a significant difference to their playoff hopes while their defence was already established. The Rams’ defence ranked first in the NFL 12 months ago, so even if Stafford takes a while to get going, they should be there or thereabouts, thanks to their defence.

At 19/10, the Rams look good value to win the NFC West; whether they can win more this year depends on Stafford’s ability to adapt to his new surroundings.

Healthy 49ers Can Challenge Again

Injuries ruined the 49ers’ plans in 2020, with quarterback Jimmy Garappolo missing large chunks of the season through injury on offence.

Nick Bosa also returns from a season-ending injury, but Garappolo has competition for the first time in a while, with Trey Lance ready to fill the void if he breaks down again.

Their offensive line should get them out of trouble, and they have numerous running backs that can cause problems. If they can stay healthy, it would be hard to avoid them in the betting at odds of 9/5.

Gutsy Seattle Will Fancy their Chances

Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West in 2020, and they are 11/4 to repeat that feat this year.

Seattle’s chances all depend on what mood Russell Wilson is in. The superstar QB reportedly wants a new challenge, while their defence also looks thin in places.

However, if Carroll can get Wilson firing again, then they should have no problems challenging. Since Wilson joined Seattle in 2012, the Seahawks have finished either first or second in the NFC West every year.

D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are Wilson’s main targets with the ball in hand, but there are some doubts over morale which mean the Rams and 49ers are safer bets.

Cardinals to Come Unstuck

At 13/2, the Cardinals are outsiders for the NFC West and it is easy to see why at this stage of the season.

QB Kyler Murray is a supreme talent but has previously struggled to find his receivers, who are often not on the same level. The Cardinals have tried to protect Murray with a menacing offensive line, while at wide receiver, he has DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and A.J. Green.

J.J. Watt’s addition on defence will help their cause, but the Cardinals still seem to be a year or two away from challenging.

Murray certainly has more help and they should pick up some impressive wins, but compared to their divisional rivals, Arizona look a level below going into 2021.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

Tom is a fantasy football fanatic who brings years of experience to bear when it comes to picking the best FPL players every week. Back in the real world of sports, Tom offers a strong insight into football and rugby league, whilst also having a good knowledge of several other sports including boxing, horse racing and American Football.

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