NFC West Playoff Preview

Aug 9, 2018; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens (4) looks for an open receiver against the Dallas Cowboys during the third quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

I guess this is the one division every year that is so lopsided it isn’t even fun to talk about. Simply put, the Rams are really, really, really good.

I’ll spoil this division for you: the Rams are going to win it. Newly Canton-bound 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens isn’t going to prevent that. What’s left of the Legion Of Boom isn’t going to prevent that. Byron Leftwich isn’t going to prevent that.

There is no “Golden State Warriors of football,” but the Rams are the closest thing to that unstoppable force. Despite the loss to New Orleans, they are still the best team in football. They have the best player in football. They have the best offensive mind in football. They have the best running back in football. They have an elite receiving corp up there with the best in football.

Yes, New Orleans beat them. But since when is losing to a generational quarterback and coach duo disqualifying? Since when is losing one game at all to any professional sports team disqualifying? Minnesota lost to the BILLS, we don’t say their season is done.

The biggest part of that loss by Los Angeles is the fact that they no longer control their own destiny for home field. That’s a big deal. But again, I still think they pull that off.

I mean, the Rams stopped Aaron Rodgers’ devil magic. That itself should put them in a class by itself.

As for the rest of the division, the most intrigue comes in who finishes last. Sure, Nick Mullens is better than Brett Favre. The numbers don’t lie. But will he be able to will them back to glory?

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In all honesty, though, the Niners are in a bad spot. Matt Breida has battled injuries all year. Raheem Mostert is now on injured reserve. Kyle Shanahan is fantastic at his job, but at what point does talent weigh more than scheme? Whatever that line is, this 49ers team is less talented than that line. They just aren’t a good football team, and wouldn’t be in the playoff hunt even with a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo.

As for Arizona, they’ve looked awful offensively. It’ll take a bit for Byron Leftwich to get his feet underneath him, but I believe he is going to work wonders for Arizona. It won’t be this year, but next season is going to be a really promising one for Arizona.

Seattle is an interesting case as well. Everyone thought they were going to be awful, but they currently stand at .500 with a legitimate playoff chance. However, I just don’t think that team is quite talented enough to get far.

I do admire what Pete Carroll and the coaching staff has done with this team in spite of penny-pinching, rebuilding decisions by a front office that seemingly lost its mind. He won’t get as long as there’s an undefeated team in the league, nevertheless his own division, but if Seattle does sneak into a Wild Card Spot, Pete Carroll has a fantastic coach of the year resume.

At the end of the day, when it comes to playoff implications, Seattle is the only team that matters from the NFC West. The Rams are winning it. The Niners and Cardinals have no shot of even coming close to January football.

Here’s to hoping Seattle runs the ball this time.


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