The Rams and the rest


Can Kyler avoid Name of Responsibility and lead Arizona to a division title?
Photograph: Getty Photographs

Logical Final result

The defending Tremendous Bowl champions, the Los Angeles Rams, will look to defend their NFC West title in opposition to the staff that beat them twice within the common season final yr and virtually received within the NFC Championship Recreation as properly, the San Francisco 49ers. These two titans will possible duke it out for the whole thing of the season as soon as once more, and can, in all chance, be Tremendous Bowl contenders as properly.

Then, there’s the Arizona Cardinals. This staff took the world by storm in the beginning of the season, earlier than tailing off within the second half, and finally falling within the Wild-Card Spherical with out placing up a lot of a combat. After a tumultuous offseason that noticed their high receiver (DeAndre Hopkins) get suspended six video games, their new broad receiver will get arrested for speeding, their quarterback squabble over a contract extension, and squabble once more over his coach’s lack of play-calling ingenuity, it’s solely logical to count on a sluggish begin to the season. Then, after Call of Duty comes out in October, Murray will get consumed and it’ll all be downhill for Arizona. They’ll nonetheless be higher than Seattle although. That’s a given.

Shock Alternate Final result

Very similar to the Las Vegas Raiders in 2021, the Cardinals rally round their adversity. They begin the season blazing scorching as soon as once more, and keep away from any contact between Murray and ‘Trendy Warfare 2′ after the discharge date. Brown’s inefficiencies that plagued him in Baltimore disappear solely as he reaffirms himself as a bonafide star broad receiver within the NFL, completely negating the lack of Christian Kirk and filling Hopkins’ position till he returns. Zach Ertz had a quiet bounce-back efficiency after shifting to the desert. He stays top-of-the-line purple zone targets within the league and James Conner is ready to deal with a feature-back workload with out Chase Edmonds within the image. So long as head coach Kliff Kingsbury doesn’t mess every part up, a division title might be a practical, if not unlikely, future for the Cardinals.

In the meantime, the Rams battle to adapt to Matt Stafford’s elbow harm. Seems that the “unusual” problem that he and McVay tried to downplay truly has severe implications on Stafford’s capability to throw. In an effort to make sure his profession isn’t ruined, the Rams go away Stafford on the sideline for a lot of the season. Backup John Wolford does his finest to show he’s a succesful backup, however even with Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson, Wolford can’t ship greater than a landing drive or two per recreation. The Rams’ offense, now led by operating again Cam Akers, coming off an ACL tear in 2021, can’t get better even with McVay on the helm. They attempt to lean increasingly more closely on Kupp, and even re-sign Odell Beckham Jr., hoping his return may spark one thing within the offense, however alas, with out Stafford, the staff is only a worse model of these disappointing 2019 and 2020 squads that failed to succeed in expectations. They’ll nonetheless end with a stable report, however received’t win the division.

Trey Lance seems to not be the man in San Francisco. He constantly questions himself and that results in far more sacks than any cell quarterback behind Trent Williams ought to feasibly take. Each time we expect head coach Kyle Shanahan will look over his shoulder and provides the nod to Jimmy Garoppolo, Lance fires a 75-yard missile to Brandon Aiyuk, re-igniting the flame that Shanahan has. Garoppolo is rarely capable of take full management of the beginning job once more regardless of the staff performing higher when he’s on the sector. George Kittle’s groin injury snowballs right into a sequence of well being issues for the star tight finish, and Deebo Samuel refuses to line up within the backfield to assist a run recreation that proves inefficient outdoors of Elijah Mitchell. The 49ers are a lot flashier in 2022, however lose extra typically than they did in 2021.

It doesn’t matter what occurs with the Rams, Cardinals, and 49ers, the Seahawks are going to complete final on this division. They’ve the worst quarterback room, arguably the worst offensive line, and arguably the worst protection. I don’t care how nice Drew Lock turns into in his first season within the Pacific Northwest, he nonetheless has to wrestle the beginning job away from Geno Smith. That might take months. So, even when Lock by some means turns his profession round Josh Allen-style, it may nonetheless be a very long time earlier than he earns the beginning gig. The staff might be 0-6 by then. They received’t be catching anybody on this division any time quickly.

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