2012 NFL Predictions: Breaking Down The NFC West

By Benjamin Woodward

Over the next week and a half, I’ll be taking a look at each of the NFL’s individual divisions and offering my thoughts and predictions for how they will fare in the 2012-13 campaign. Today’s edition will feature a look at the West division of the National Football Conference, featuring the defending champion San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams.

The schedule for the 2012 NFL predictions pieces is as follows:

AFC East (09/01/12)

AFC South (09/03/12)

AFC North (09/03/12)

AFC West (09/04/12)

NFC East (09/04/12)

NFC South (09/05/12)

NFC North (09/05/12)

NFC West

Award Winners

AFC Playoffs

NFC Playoffs

Superbowl 47

Without further ado, my predictions for the NFC West…..

1) San Francisco 49ers(13-3) — In my mind, this is the best team in football. The San Francisco 49ers are about as well-rounded a team as I’ve ever seen. Their running attack should be strong with the invention of an unprecedented four-headed monster of Frank Gore, LaMichael James, Kendall Hunter and Brandon Jacobs. Their passing game was much improved through the offseason acquisitions of Randy Moss and Superbowl 46 hero Mario Manningham. On defense, you’ll find the most star-studded unit in the entire NFL. With names like Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, Justin Smith and Dashon Goldson, the 49ers are capable of blanking even the NFL’s best offenses.

2) Seattle Seahawks(8-8) — The Seattle Seahawks are one of the youngest teams in the entire NFL. While their defense doesn’t feature many household names, it should be amongst the best in the league with solid young players at every position. 2012 third round draft choice Russell Wilson, out of the University of Wisconsin, earned himself the starting quarterback job behind a strong preseason performance, beating out incumbent Tarvaris Jackson (who would be later traded to the Buffalo Bills) and free-agent acquisition Matt Flynn. Wilson’s offense shouldn’t be too bad, with outside weapons in Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Braylon Edwards as well as beastly tailback Marshawn Lynch in the running game.

3) St. Louis Rams (5-11) — Third-year quarterback Sam Bradford is an amazing talent. Unfortunately, his young career has been riddled with injuries, even during his days in college at Oklahoma. Despite being given one of the league’s worst receiving groups, if Bradford can stay healthy for an entire season, I’d expect him to be able to throw for thirty touchdowns and lead the Rams to at least five wins. On defense, the Rams don’t have much, but a strong running game with powerful tailback Steven Jackson should help to keep the St. Louis offense on the field as much as possible.

4) Arizona Cardinals(3-13) — The Cardinals’ acquisition of former Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Kevin Kolb back in July of 2011 has been nothing short of an absolute disaster. Not only did the Cards have to surrender both a second round draft choice and the rights to developing cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but they then signed Kolb to a ridiculously generous six-year, $65 million dollar contract, handicapping the team from making any future moves at the position. Now, Kolb is set to begin the second year of his mega-deal as the back-up to former Fordham University (yes, that Fordham from NCAA division 1-AA) quarterback John Skelton. Skelton’s offense is lead by all-pro wide out Larry Fitzgerald and rookie Michael Floyd and should be able to put up its fair share of points. Unfortunately for the football fans out in the desert, the Cards just aren’t very good at many other positions and should find themselves in the basement of the NFC West in 2012-13.

Thanks For Reading!

Twitter: @_BWoodward

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