CANTON, Ohio- The 2017 NFL season is about here. Let my predictions start. Let’s start with the NFC first. Beginning with the NFC West.
Los Angeles Rams- (Home Stadium: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum)- (2016 record: 4-12)- (My 2017 Prediction: 4-12)
The Rams are in a decent division with Arizona, Seattle and San Francisco. Los Angeles has some talent on both sides of the ball, but unless the Rams can help protect QB Jared Goff better and Todd Gurley can step his game up, the Rams will find themselves picking in the top 10 in next year’s draft. Los Angeles did sign Andrew WhitWorth, the left tackle to, not only protect Goff, but hopefully help out the run game as well. The Rams also traded for WR Sammy Watkins. But Watkins has had injury problems ever since he was draft.
San Francisco 49ers- (Home Stadium: Levi’s Stadium)- (2016 record: 2-14)- (My 2017 Prediction: 5-11)
Kyle Shanahan now runs the offense and John Lynch drafts the talent. The 49ers seem to finally have a good front office in place. San Francisco had a great draft. Mainly because they traded down one spot with Chicago and were able to add stud LB Reuben Foster and edge rusher Solomon Thomas. The 49ers signed Brian Hoyer during the off-season as a QB to run the show until they draft their guy. Defensively, they’ll be better, but can they improve on the offensive side?
Seattle Seahawks- (Home Stadium: CenturyLink Field)- (2016 record: 10-5)- (My 2017 Prediction: 9-6)
The Seahawks have a lot of good pieces in place. They have a great defense, good wide receivers and a good running game. But that offensive line might be the worst in the NFL. One big hit to Russell Wilson and Seattle is working with Trevone Boykin or Austin Davis at QB. Seattle has the defense, but that offensive line must be better. It’s a good thing Wilson has mobility. I’ll have them finish second in this division.
NFC WEST CHAMPIONS-
Arizona Cardinals- (Home Stadium: University of Phoenix Stadium)- (2016 record: 7-8)- (My 2017 Prediction: 10-5)
The Cardinals has a disappointing season last year. I look for that to change. Carson Palmer will have a better year and David Johnson is a really good running back. Oh, by the way, Arizona also has a really good defense. Offensively, Arizona has players like John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald and JJ Nelson for Palmer to throw to. The Cardinals feature Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and rookie Budda Baker on defense. Good luck passing against that secondary.
The Rams are still waiting to see if Goff is the answer. They also need to continue building up a team around him. Although I have San Francisco at 5 wins, I wouldn’t be shocked if Shanahan’s great offensive mind propels the 49ers to a better record and dare I say a run at the wild card? You never know! This division will likely come down to Seattle and Arizona once again. And go figure, the final game of 2017 is Arizona at Seattle. That could end up being the game that decides the NFC West winner or one of the two teams may need this game in order to get a wild card spot.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick broulis