NFC West Preview
First off I want to confirm the rumors going around – I am a Rams season ticket holder and I will be as fair as possible in this review. In fact, I picked them second in the division.
The Seattle Seahawks
Seattle will win this division based on their soft schedule in a soft division and a strong performance from Matt Hasselbeck and another productive year from the aging but still good Shaun Alexander. Their out of division play consists of Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, @ Pittsburgh, New Orleans, @ Cleveland, Chicago, @ Philadelphia, @ Carolina, Baltimore and finishing up @ Atlanta. There are definitely some tough games with the big defenses of the Bears and Ravens coming to town but home field could help out and there are some gimmes in there too. The wideouts of Branch and Hackett will get their fair share of catches and touchdowns with Nate Burleson making a few big plays with his flair for the dramatics. How can you go wrong when you got a guy named Mack Strong as your fullback? 10-6
St. Louis Rams
The Rams will showcase one of the best backs in the league with Steven Jackson and quality quarterback in Marc Bulger. Jackson should get a lot of touches on the ground and catch a few passes and will rack up some serious yards for some fantasy teams (big surprise there I know). Bulger has been getting banged up lately and it got him a 6 year 65 million dollar contract. Hopefully more than Orlando Pace will show up on the O-line to protect that investment and while they are at it can clear some running lanes for Mr. Jackson. Drew Bennett is a great addition as a wide receiver and will take and give a few more hits than the normal sliding/running out of bounds wide receivers of the past. The Rams will put up a lot of yards and quite a few points every week but they will give up even more. Their defense is somehow always atrocious no matter what coach Haslett is capable of doing. Once that blue and gold goes on they forget how to tackle. Another area that is always bad for the Rams is Special Teams and from what I have seen and read this year its gonna be another experience closer to Special Ed than Special Teams. This team could surprise and be real good but I still have them with another .500 record at 8-8. No playoffs in St. Louis again this year.
San Francisco 49ers
To everyone out there picking San Francisco as your ‘surprise’ ‘Cinderella’ or whatever you wanna call em team. Forget about it – didn’t you say the same thing last year? Or was that the Cardinals you were hyping up? I forget either way you were wrong and will be again this year. I say 2008 will be for them! Frank Gore is a monster and will be again this year! Alex Smith is rising but he hasn’t risen. He will look better but still misses on the big strikes in a game. The addition of Darrel Jackson will do more good than bad but he can’t carry the whole group. Defenses don’t need to be too worried about that and can key on the run. It will be ok to give up a few passes (alright more than a few) to Vernon Davis but how many times does a tight end swing the game one way or another? I say not enough times to get them at .500. The 49ers will finish 7-9
Hmmmm….Matt Leinart….Too Young!……Edgerrin James……Too Old!……The Wide Receivers….ok they have a couple of studs there!! But without a solid running game they can and will still be beat. That O-line needs to give some protection and time to Leinart. He has looked good, should we just crown him now? I think he will be who we thought he was! Oh yeah – that guy is gone now. That’s another thing. New system and new coach lets not get ahead of ourselves and put this team in the superbowl let alone the playoffs. They bring up the division at 5-11.