2016 NFC West Outlook

Posted: September 4, 2016 in NFL

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals finished last season at 13-3 and made the playoffs for a second consecutive year before losing to the Panthers in the conference championship. Bruce Arians will enter his fourth season as head coach with a staggering 34-14 regular season in his 3 seasons with Arizona. Harold Goodwin will enter his fourth season as offensive coordinator for the Cardinals. The Cardinals offense exploded last season ranking 4th in the NFL compared to their bottom-10 finish in 2014. The Cardinals had the 3rd best passing offense last season. James Bettcher will be entering his third season with the Cardinals and second season as defensive coordinator. The Cardinals had the 3rd best defense last season and was top 5 in both rushing and passing defense.

Offseason Summary

Departures: LB Dwight Freeney, S Rashad Johnson, OT Bobby Massie, CB Jerraud Powers

Arrivals: G Evan Mathis, DB Tyvon Branch, CB Mike Jenkins, DE Chandler Jones, LB Donald Butler

Top Draft Picks: DE Robert Nkemdiche (Mississippi, #29 overall), CB Brandon Williams (Texas A&M, #92), C Evan Boehm (Missorui, #128)

Preseason Awards

MVP: Carson Palmer

Non-QB MVP: Tyrann Mathieu

Offensive Player of the Year: Larry Fitzgerald

Defensive Player of the Year: Calais Campbell

Other Notable players: Mike Iupati, Evan Mathis, Tony Jefferson, Patrick Peterson, Chandler Jones

Strongest position group: Offensive skill players

Weakest position group: Front seven

Preseason Projection

The Cardinals are projected for 12.2 wins with a 90% confidence interval of 8.7 to 15.4 wins. They begin the season with an approximate 95.4% chance of making the playoffs and a 12.9% chance of winning the Super Bowl. The graph below shows the Cardinals probability of winning X number of games.

Cardinals

Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams went 7-9 last year and missed the playoffs for the eleventh consecutive season. Jeff Fisher will be entering his fifth season as head coach for the Rams and he has a 27-36-1 record in his first four seasons. Overall, Jeff Fisher has a 169-156-1 regular season record. Rob Boras, entering his fifth season with the Rams, is the assistant head coach and the offensive coordinator for the Rams. The Rams ranked 29th in the NFL last season and had a lot of trouble passing the ball, where they finished second to last. Gregg Williams will be answering his third season with the Rams as defensive coordinator (excluding 2012, where he was suspended for bounty gate). The Rams have had a top-10 defense for two straight seasons, including last season’s 7th overall finish.

Offseason Summary

Departures: CB Sean Smith, G Jeff Allen, OT Donald Stephenson, S Tyvon Branch, St. Louis

Arrivals: OT Mitchell Schwartz, QB Nick Foles, Los Angeles

Top Draft Picks: QB Jared Goff (California, #1 overall), TE Tyler Higbee (Western Kentucky, #110 overall), WR Pharoh Cooper (South Carolina, #117)

Preseason Awards

MVP: Aaron Donald

Offensive Player of the Year: Todd Gurley

Defensive Player of the Year: William Hayes

Other Notable players: Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin, Rob Havenstein, Trumaine Johnson, Robert Quinn

Strongest position group: Front seven

Weakest position group: Offensive line

Preseason Projection

The Rams are projected for 5.8 wins with a 90% confidence interval of 2.2 to 9.6 wins. They begin the season with an approximate 6.6% chance of making the playoffs and a less than 1% chance of winning the Super Bowl. The graph below shows the Rams probability of winning X number of games.

Rams

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers finished last season at 5-11 and missed the playoffs for the second year. Jim Tomsula was a failed experiment at head coach, and Chip Kelly will take over this season. Chip Kelly was fired after 15 games in Philadelphia this season with a 26-21 overall regular season record. Curtis Modkins will enter his first season with the 49ers as offensive coordinator. He has previous NFL experience with the Chiefs, Cardinals and Lions as a running backs coach and he spent three seasons with the Bills as the offensive coordinator there. The 49ers ranked 28th in the NFL last season and could not really move the ball well in the air or on the ground. Jim O’Neil, defensive coordinator, is another new face to the 49ers this season. He has previous experience as defensive coordinator with the Browns in the last two seasons and spent time with the Jets and Bills as a positional coach. The 49ers ranked 27th defensively last season in the NFL, a year removed from a top-5 finish in 2014.

Offseason Summary

Departures: WR Anquan Boldin, G Alex Boone, HB Reggie Bush

Arrivals: G Zane Beadles

Top Draft Picks: DE DeForest Buckner (Oregon, #7 overall), G Joshua Garnett (Stanford, #28), CB Will Redmond (Mississippi State, #68)

Preseason Awards

MVP: Navarro Bowman

Offensive Player of the Year:  Joe Staley

Defensive Player of the Year: Arik Armstead

Other Notable players: Carlos Hyde, Andrew Tiller, Jimmie Ward, Aaron Lynch

Strongest position group: Front seven

Weakest position group: Offensive skill players

Preseason Projection

The 49ers are projected for 3.4 wins with a 90% confidence interval of 0.3 to 6.7 wins. They begin the season with a less than 1% chance of making the playoffs. The graph below shows the 49ers probability of winning X number of games.

49ers

Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks went 10-6 last season, making the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Pete Carroll will be entering his seventh season in Seattle and has made the playoffs in five of his first six seasons. In his five playoff appearance Carroll has made it to the Super Bowl twice, including one victory. Pete Carroll is 60-36 in his first five seasons in Seattle. The Seahawks finished last season with the best offense in the NFL and the 4th best defense in the NFL. Darrell Bevell will be entering his sixth season as offensive coordinator for the Seahawks. Kris Richard will begin his seventh season as defensive coordinator for the Seahawks, but only his second as defensive coordinator.

Offseason Summary

Departures: LB Bruce Irvin, OT Russell Okung, DT Brandon Mebane, G J.R. Sweezy

Arrivals: CB Brandon Browner, J’Marcus Webb

Top Draft Picks: G Germain Ifedi (Texas A&M, #31 overall), DT Jarran Reed (Alabama, #49), HB C.J. Prosise (Notre Dame, #90)

Preseason Awards

MVP: Russell Wilson

Non-QB MVP: Cliff Avril

Offensive Player of the Year: Doug Baldwin

Defensive Player of the Year: K.J. Wright

Other Notable players: Earl Thomas, Tyler Lockett, Thomas Rawls, Richard Sherman

Strongest position group: Offensive skill players

Weakest position group: Offensive line

Preseason Projection

The Seahawks are projected for 10.6 wins with a 90% confidence interval of 6.9 to 14.1 wins. They begin the season with an approximate 78.1% chance of making the playoffs and a 5.5% chance of winning the Super Bowl. The graph below shows the Seahawks probability of winning X number of games.

Projected NFC West Standings

  • Arizona Cardinals (12-4)
  • Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
  • Los Angeles Rams (6-10)
  • San Francisco 49ers (3-13)
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