Before we end the 2014 Divisional Prediction series with the NFC South we take a look at the NFC West; the toughest division in the NFL.
1. San Francisco 49ers: 13-3
Aside from the addition of safety Antoine Bethea, all of the moves that the 49ers made this offseason were purely for depth purposes. They are now two or three deep at every defensive position and added weapons such as Brandon Lloyd, Carlos Hyde, and Bruce Ellington to the offense. The only real question mark on this 49ers team is in the secondary, but Eric Reid will help mask a lot of problems. Look for Jimmie Ward to make a big impression early on as well. Right now San Francisco should be a shoe in for the NFC title game. As much as it pains me to say it, it's true. There will be a lot of success in The City by the Bay in 2014, as the 49ers will take the second seed in the NFC.
2. Seattle Seahawks: 11-5
It almost seems to me that the Seahawks got too comfortable this offseason and felt like they can cruise right through the regular season once again. They ended up losing Golden Tate, Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, Brandon Browner, and Walter Thurmond, all of which will be a second-string player at the very worst next year. Marshawn Lynch was debating retirement this offseason and will now reportedly be a holdout from training camp, so you have to wonder if his heart will still be all in halfway through a long season. Outside of Percy Harvin, who always carries a big Red Cross risk, there isn't another major receiving threat on this roster. The Seahawks will advance to the postseason again in 2014 as the fifth seed in the NFC, but expect them to take a step back as they are less menacing.
3. St. Louis Rams: 9-7
If the Rams had a sure-fire starting quarterback and one or two more viable receiving threats, they could win the NFC West. They don't have these things yet, though, so they will have to suffer another mediocre season that is slightly better. They have a pass rush that will likely be good for 60+ sacks this year, so that will keep offenses in check and help a below-average secondary. Something scary is starting to brew in St. Louis, and the rest of the NFL needs to watch out.
4. Arizona Cardinals: 8-8
Having Carson Palmer throwing the ball downfield to Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd isn't a bad thing at all, but the offense isn't too special after that. The defense, however, carries some impressive pieces. Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, and John Abraham will anchor the pass rush while Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie will protect the back end. If healthy, Tryann Mathieu will be a big contributor as well. Like the Rams, the Cardinals are just a hair away from being a dangerous team.
How do you guys think the NFC West will play out?