The defending Super Bowl champions, the Los Angeles Rams, will be looking to defend their NFC West title against the team that beat them twice last season and also narrowly won the NFC Championship Game, San Francisco 49ers. These two giants will likely beat it over the course of the season once again, and will most likely be Super Bowl contenders.
Then there are the Arizona Cardinals. This team took the world by storm at the start of the season, before taking the lead in the second half, and eventually falling into the Wild-Card Round without much fighting effort. After a tumultuous season that saw their top receiver (DeAndre Hopkins) hang six games, their new wide receiver was arrested for speeding, their quarterback quartet arguing over contract extensions, and again arguing over his coach’s lack of playfulness, it’s reasonable to expect a slow start to the season. Afterward Call of Duty Releases in October, Murray is consumed and it’s all going to go downhill for Arizona. However, they will still be better than Seattle. That is dedication.
Like the Las Vegas Raiders in 2021, the Cardinals rally around their adversity. They kicked off the hot season again, and avoided any contact between Murray and ‘Modern Warfare 2’ after its release date. Brown’s inefficiencies that had plagued him in Baltimore completely disappeared as he reasserted himself as an NFL-sized star, completely denying the loss of Christian Kirk and taking on the role of Hopkins until he come back. Zach Ertz had a quiet comeback performance after moving to the desert. He’s still one of the best red zone targets in the league and James Conner can handle the back-to-back workload featured without Chase Edmonds pictured. As long as head coach Kliff Kingsbury doesn’t mess things up, a championship could be a realistic, if not unlikely, future for the Cardinals.
Meanwhile, the Rams struggled to adjust to Matt Stafford’s elbow injury. It turns out that The “unusual” problem which he and McVay tried to downplay the play really had a serious effect on Stafford’s throwing ability. In a bid to ensure his career wasn’t ruined, the Rams left Stafford on the sidelines for much of the season. Backup John Wolford tries his best to prove he’s a backup man, but even with Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson, Wolford can’t offer more than one or two touch drives per game . The Rams’ offense, now leading by running against Cam Akers’s imminent ACL tear in 2021, is unlikely to recover even with McVay at the helm. They try to rely more and more on Kupp, and even re-sign Odell Beckham Jr., hoping his return might spark offense, but alas, without Stafford , the team is just a worse version of the disappointing 2019 and 2020. The team did not meet expectations. They will still end up with a solid record, but won’t be able to win the tournament.
Trey Lance turns out not to be the guy from San Francisco. He is always questioning himself and that leads to more possibilities than any of the mobile defenders behind Trent Williams. Every time we think head coach Kyle Shanahan will look over his shoulder and nod at Jimmy Garoppolo, Lance fires a 75-yard rocket towards Brandon Aiyuk, rekindling the flames Shanahan has. Garoppolo was never able to fully control the starting work again even though the team performed better when he was on the field. By George Kittle Groin injury snowball led to a series of health problems for the tight-ended star, and Deebo Samuel refused to line up in the backyard to help an unproductive run beyond Elijah Mitchell. The 49-year-olds are much flashier in 2022, but lose more often than in 2021.
No matter what happens to the Rams, Cardinals and 49ers, the Seahawks will finish last in this division. They have the worst defense, arguably the worst attack and arguably the worst defence. I don’t care how great Drew Lock turned out to be in his first season in the Pacific Northwest, he still struggled with the job starting from Geno Smith. That could take months. So even if Lock somehow turns his career around Josh Allen style, he’s still a long way from earning a beginning gig. The team could be 0-6 at that time. They won’t catch anyone in this department anytime soon.