With the football season just around the corner, it’s time to throw out some wild predictions about how the teams will shape up and which players will thrive in the NFL in 2014.
Th NFC West was the best division was the best in last year, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them repeat this feat in 2014. The defending champion-Seattle Seahawks return a very similar team to last season, while the San Francisco 49ers will be on a mission to knock off a team that has become their most fierce rival since those Green Bay Packers matchups they endured about 15 years ago. The Arizona Cardinals showed how balanced and how disciplined they are last season, and some of the players on their roster are looking to make big strides this season. And then there are the St. Louis Rams, who would be a favorite to win almost any other division in the NFL.
Here are my predictions for the NFC South this season:
1. Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
2. San Francisco 49ers (10-6)
3. St. Louis Rams (9-7)
4. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)
All four teams should finish above .500, assuming they handle the teams they play outside of the division. Seattle is still too good at home to not grab at least seven wins at their place, so it will be hard to dethrone them as division champs. Though the Niners seem more determined than ever to come after the Seahawks, they do not have the same amount of talent and cohesiveness that Seattle does, and are likely to finish behind them. The Rams are the more interesting team in the NFC West to me, as Sam Bradford should have an improved offensive line, as well as some more experience from his skill-positions with Zac Stacy and Tavon Austin having playing time under their belts. As for Arizona, the 8-8 record is just a baseline in the sense that they can go 6-10 or 10-6 very easily. The close games may bite them in the rear if a running game doesn’t manifest by the middle of the season, but with Andre Ellington getting more touches, the Cards could see more consistency from the backfield.
Here are some individual awards for the NFC South:
NFC West Offensive Player of the Year: Colin Kaepernick, SF
NFC West Defensive Player of the Year: Robert Quinn, STL
NFC West Rookie of the Year: Carlos Hyde, SF
NFC West X-Factor: Cliff Avril, SEA
NFC West Coach of the Year: Jim Harbaugh, SF