Bold 2021 NFL Prediction: The NFC West will be the best division in football
Updated: Jan 31, 2021
QB Matthew Stafford is traded to the Los Angeles Rams. Photo courtesy of Twitter
Quarterback Matthew Stafford, 32, has officially been traded to the Los Angeles Rams. Dealers Detroit Lions recieved a whopping compensation of the now-former starting Rams QB Jared Goff, 26, as well as two future first-round picks and one of three Rams 2021 third-round draft picks. This blockbuster deal has turned heads around the league for it's gaudy disregard of the Rams' future. On the flip side of that, the Rams believe they have acquired a substantially higher-graded QB, and they are essentially putting all of their chips in the center of the table.
If there is one thing this could mean for the NFL it's this; the NFC West will be the most ferocious division in the league.
The trade triggers a few things. First, the Rams are freed from most of their generously bestowed $134 million extension with Goff. The Rams have famously been "feeling the heat" when it comes to their upcoming season's cap space. But given the believable situation that incoming Stafford restructures his remaining $20 million contract, adding an extra year with the Rams, it should be no problem.
Another change in the works for the best coast of football could be hidden in plain sight...
49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan(left) smiling at Super Bowl LIV with QB Jimmy Garappolo (right). Photo courtesy of The Connecticut Post
Because of the grandiose announcement of the Stafford trade, there is a nagging feeling that people are missing something here. Could it be that the San Franciso 49ers also reportedly weighed in, offering their first round pick from this year?
Oh yeah, must've forgot.
Despite whispers from the 49er field-house that Garappolo has supporters from within, the 2019 NFC West champs threw their name in the hat. What does this mean exactly? Well for starters, they are obviously actively shopping their next QB. Now that the Rams have made such a splashy play, it begs the Bay football squad to answer.
Garappolo's last full season was in 2019 and one could argue that he didn't exactly LEAD the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV that year, but rather just played QB for the team during. That year he threw a dull 27 touchdowns and just under 4,000 passing yards accompanied by 13 interceptions. His uninspired numbers haven't pleased their front office including General Manager John Lynch.
Houston Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson(above). Photo courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times
In this quarterback-centric league, it's no secret that the key to winning is finding the right guy under center. So with the official trade request coming from Houston Texans phenom QB DeShaun Watson, the 49ers may not miss again. Widely covered are the possible departures of Watson as well as others notable playcallers such as; Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz, Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott, and New York Jets' Sam Darnold. All of the former first rounders have been given odds to play for multiple other teams this season, could San Francisco make another big deal for the West?
They may have to.
Not only do the Rams now have a possible Super Bowl-contending team for the Niners to worry about, but they also have two other Western rivals that have a chance to steal the Coastal Crown. One of those teams, the Seattle Seahawks certainly won't let people forget why their QB is an annual MVP candidate.
Seahawks safety Jamal Adams (above). Photo courtesy of Oregon Live
Will all of this trade business, Seahawk fans may be upset with the lack of media coverage. But that's right where you want them (MUAHAHAHAAA). The best thing for the Washington state birds is to stay out of the limelight, given that not many people are allowed to do that when their QB has been selected to the Pro Bowl EIGHT times.
The Seahawks also traded for superstar safety Jamal Adams last year which proved to be extremely valuable this past season. Their secondary was arguably the worst in the NFL earlier this year when Adams was still dealing with a groin injury he picked up against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3. However, when the 4-year pro worked his way back into the lineup the perimeter tightened up, thus the defense improved tremendously and finished 13th among all NFL teams.
With young, monstrous, skills players like running back Chris Carson and wide reciever D.K. Metcalf... the Hawks aren't hurting in the talent department either! Truly, more valuable defensive EDGE rushers and padding the O-line are all the Seattle team need to achieve and be not-so-sneaky contenders in the 2021 season.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins(middle) battles three Buffalo Bills defenders for a game-winning catch. Photo courtesy of Yardbreaker.com
Last, and quite determined to not be least, the Arizona Cardinals. Led by head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the Cardinals have made a world of difference for themselves in the past two years. They've acquired the likes of cornerback Byron Murphy to aide Arizona defensive backs Patrick Peterson and Buddha Baker. They also traded for elite WR DeAndre Hopkins and drafted WR Christian Kirk who have both been extremely productive over the time span with 2019 first overall pick Kyler Murray.
Productive enought to translate into wins that is! The Cardinals were JUST out of playoff contention with a record of 8-8 last season and they can taste that NFC West title on the horizon. Arizona's 48 sacks and over 5,100 yards of total offense helped them out. If the team can acquire some more help on the offensive line and find a true all-down running back in this upcoming draft, they'll be right up there with the rest of them.
This team is hungry and many more miracle-worthy plays from Murray, like the game-winning 43-yard toss to Hopkins in Week 10, could feed them what they crave.
` Any one of the teams in the NFC West could earn playoff berths (if the NFC East keeps on it's horrendous track it is technically possible they sneak all 4 in at once) but only one can represent the division in the Super Bowl. Who will be the team to break away and truly give the steamrolling force that is the Kansas City Chiefs, a run for their money?