2007 NFC West Preview

2007 NFC West preview from MadduxSports.com. In addition to the free season previews you can find the best NFL Picks against the spread. Also for the online football bettors, bookmark the NFL odds page to have at your disposal.

NFC West Division Preview
By Adam Barone

1. 49ers: In 2006 the 49ers showed signs of major potential, signs that came especially from QB Alex Smith and RB Frank Gore. TE Vernon Davis has unlimited potential of his own and is one of the keys to Smith’s success. To further assist in Smith’s development, the Niners picked up WR Darrell Jackson from division rival Seattle, and signed speedy WR Ashley Lelie. Adding them to WR Arnaz Battle and the aforementioned Davis makes one expect that all the promise that Smith has shown should translate into success this season. The defense in San Fran was average last season, but they’ve added free agents CB Nate Clements, and S Michael Lewis and drafted Mississippi MLB Patrick Willis. These moves should, combined with the new and improved offense, give the 49ers enough ammunition to make a big leap in the standings and finish with an impressive tally of 10-6.

2. Seahawks: Last season, though they had injuries to RB Shaun Alexander and QB Matt Hasselbeck, the Seahawks managed just a 9-7 record. That record put them narrowly ahead of second place St. Louis, who went 8-8, and just two contests out of the reach of San Francisco, who ended up at 7-9. Aside from losing TE Jerramy Stevens to Tampa Bay, Seattle returns essentially the same squad, with a healthy Alexander and Hasselbeck to start the year. Even if the Seahawks are lucky enough to have their two best players remain healthy for the duration of the season, the front office simply didn’t do enough to keep pace with San Francisco’s and St. Louis’s improvements. I see Seattle having a bit of trouble with the schedule that’s been set before them, with their final record settling at 8-8.

3. Rams: Stephen Jackson seems to have, almost out of nowhere, made himself known as one of the NFL’s top running backs. Last season he went completely out of his mind on the field, racking up 346 carries while rushing for 1528 yards and pounding his way into the end zone 13 times. As if that wasn’t enough, he also piled up 90 catches for 806 yards and 3 TD. His quarterback, Marc Bulger, had a phenomenal season of his own, throwing for 4301 yards with 24 TDs against only 8 picks. The Rams signed WR Drew Bennett from the Titans and TE Randy McMichael from the Dolphins, which may or may not make the offense more formidable, though it certainly can’t hurt to add weapons. Despite the two stellar 2006 performances from Jackson and Bulger, the Rams managed just an 8-8 record in 2006, going 2-4 against the rest of the West. The problem was the run defense, which allowed 145.4 yards per game on the ground at an average of 4.9 yards per carry. The only thing they really did to address the problem was draft Nebraska DE Adam Carriker, whom they plan to move to tackle. I’m willing to bet that this will have little effect, and the Rams will finish tied with the Seahawks, matching last season’s record at 8-8.

4. Cardinals: The Cardinals, last season, finished at 5-11, but left everyone feeling like they were better than that. New head coach Ken Whisenhunt comes in from Pittsburgh, and he, their fan base hopes, will reshape the team into the contender that was expected before the 2006 season. Interestingly, Arizona had the best record in the West against division foes, going 4-2. Unfortunately the Cardinals were pounded by the AFC, going 0-4. There is plenty of talent on offense, Whisenhunt’s specialty, including QB Matt Leinart, RB Edgerrin James, and WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, to scare opposing defenses. The trouble will be utilizing that talent to the team’s benefit better than former coach Dennis Green and his staff was able to do in 2006. The defense will need a few more pieces, and their schedule seems a bit daunting for a team that had such a poor showing last year. Improvement will surely be noticeable, but with a new coaching staff it will be difficult to do any better than to duplicate their 2006 5-11 record.

We have broken down each NFC West team in-depth. Read the individual NFL previews of the Cardinals, 49ers, Seahawks, and Rams from Maddux Sports.


2007 NFL Team Previews

As usual Maddux presents its anual 2007 NFL preview sorted by divisions. From each division you can find our predictions as well an individual team report of each National League Football Team. Click here to return to the main NFL season preview page.

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