Are there really three payoff teams in the NFC West? Well, yes and no. The Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals could all be considered possible post-season contenders.
Seattle Seahawks’ coach Mike Holgrem will be retiring after this season, and he would certainly like to get his team to the Super Bowl. With the release of the quickly declining Shaun Alexander, the running game is in disarray. QB Matt Hasselbeck is a premiere player and he’s got some talent to which to throw. The team has a fine defense.
Once again, the Arizona Cardinals look like a club that can make it into the playoffs. Their receivers are talented and deep, while Matt Leinart is one of the fine young talents in the league. The ground unit is getting older, but it does have some pop. The corners and safeties are stoppers. This is a good team that should play into the middle of January.
St. Louis Rams
Although no one doubts that Rams’ QB Mark Bulger is tough that doesn’t mean that he has to take so many shots. He needs a real frontline in order to succeed. The Rams’ ground attack looks solid and new offensive coordinator Al Saunders is creating inventive schemes. The defense found gold in the 2008 draft by selecting players such as Chris Long and John Greco.
San Francisco 49ers
Mike Martz is the new offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. Look for him to open up the offense. QB J.T. O’Sullivan will replace Alex Smith. The receivers are talented but aging. RB Frank Gore can churn up yards quickly.
This division has some major question marks. The Seahawks are playoff bound; there’s no doubt about that. But how far into the mix will they go? Arizona must be proficient in all areas to put up a decent number of wins. St. Louis has to gel quickly in order to win. The 49ers continue to flounder.
2008 Finish and Record
1) Seattle Seahawks (11-5) 2) Arizona Cardinals (10-6) 3) St. Louis Rams (7-9) 4) San Francisco 49ers (3-13)