Jul 15, 2010

Upon Further Review: NFC West

Day 257

Welcome to the inaugural Upon Further Review column!

I redesigned my banner. I think this one looks better and I included a ref "under review".

I have always wanted to start an NFL blog and now I have the perfect opportunity to do so. Every Thursday, right up until the NFL season begins (only 8 weeks!), I will be taking a look at each division and making my predictions for the season. The Thursday that the NFL season begins I will have my playoff predictions and a look at the games for the opening weekend and pick the winners. Each Thursday I will also cover a topic in the NFL. This time I thought it would be proper to give an introduction of why I love football and when this obsession began.

I love football. When I moved from Canada to the United States, the NFL filled the void that the NHL left. Hockey games were rarely seen on TV here in the States, even with cable. So I had nothing else to watch but football. And my mom and I quickly became fans of the game. Some of my favorite memories are sitting around the house, eating Sweet n' Sour chicken from the crock pot watching all the games on Sunday. And sometimes skipping church as well. I joined my mom's work football pool and did weekly picks for almost fifteen straight years. I would e-mail my mom my picks when I lived in West Jordan and would explain my picks. I still watch football and often time I will have my mom over to watch some of the games.

I am more of a defensive guy. I love to watch a dominant defense go out and make plays. That is one of the reasons why I like watching the Baltimore Ravens with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. That is why I love this sport. For all the finesse that Peyton Manning may have and how oiled his offense is, I still love watching the defense. There is nothing like watching a defense impose its will on the other team. People may like watching all the high-flying passing but I love watching teams grind it out. Nothing gets me more excited watching a mean defense take the field. As far as offenses go, I like teams that do it on the ground. Run, run, run until the other team learns to stop you. I am an old timer when it comes to this philosophy.

So without further ado, let's start with a look at the NFC West. Most reviewers start with the East divisions but since I am out west, I think I should start with the West.


1) San Fransisco 49ers
What I Like:

I really like Head Coach Mike Singletary and I think he has the team's respect and will play hard for him. Hopefully he will not have to drop his pants this year. The 49ers are in a weak division and should easily bully their way to a division championship. WR Crabtree should have a terrific year and the 49ers have one of the best line backing corps in the NFL. If the offense can match the productivity of the defense, this could be a team to watch.

What I Don't Like:
While they will make the playoffs, I don't think they will go that deep. Even though QB Alex Smith threw 18 touchdowns in the last 11 games, I am just not totally convinced that he is the man for the job. The receiving corp also looks a little weak. Aside from Crabtree and TE Vernon Davis who else is there? Ginn "Dropped Passes" Jr? Luckily the 49ers have a decent running game to help out.

2) Arizona Cardinals
What I Like:

They play in a weak division. The Cardinals have solid coaching. They have an up-and-coming rushing attack, even with the loss of Anquan Boldin, I still think they have a great receiving corp. The defense suffered the loss of some key personnel but I think the additions they have made will make up for it. Linebacker Joey Porter may not be what he used to be but he will add some valuable leadership and swagger. Don't count the Cards out just yet.

What I Don't Like:
No Kurt Warner. I think Leinhart has some talent but he is no Kurt Warner. Luckily for him he may not have to play like Kurt Warner to get the Cardinals into the playoffs but I am more concerned that Leinhart will play like he has played before. Hopefully Matt learned from Warner and I trust Coach Whisenhunt and Arizona management's judgement on letting Matt play. I just don't like it.

3) Seattle Seahawks
What I Like:

There is not much to like about the Seahawks. They do have one of the best line backing corps in the league and they should have a pretty decent defense. I also like the hiring of Pete Carroll and I hope that stabilizes the organization after a strange coaching carousel the last few years.

What I Don't Like:
The Seahawks have too many unanswered questions. Can Hasselback remain healthy? Can they get a decent running game? Can new RB Leon Washington recover from his broken leg and help the team? Can Pete Carroll coach in the NFL? This team just has too many intangibles.

4) St. Louis Rams
What I Like:

There is not much to like about the Rams aside from RB Steven Jackson. The team does have a lot of youth, which really could be both a good and bad thing. They should at least improve from their 1-15 season last year. I do like the Rams draft but it may be awhile before we see the fruits of that labor. The Bradford-Avery connection just might something fun to watch this year.

What I Don't Like:
It is going to be a long year for Ram fans. This team has deficiencies on both sides of the ball and look like to repeat as the NFL's worst team. I don't think they will repeat their 1-15 record but they may only get one or two more wins from division opponents. Last year they ranked 4th worst in both defense and offense, only Cleveland was worse in both categories.

NEXT WEEK: I'll peek at the AFC West division and make some bold predictions. I'll also explain why I am not a fan of the Denver Broncos. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate the Broncos...  ..you'll just have to see why next week.

1 comment:

  1. LOVED this post... got me excited for the season to start!! Anxious to see next week to see why you don't LOVE the Bronco's like we do!!! ;)