NFL: NFC West season preview

We take a look at each division before the start of the 2014 season

Arizona Cardinals

With a terrible offensive line and no offensive target apart from Larry Fitzgerald last season, Carson Palmer performed reasonably well. This offseason the Cardinals have made a major upgrade to the offensive line with Jared Veldheer and have added speedy rookie John Brown to play opposite Fitzgerald  - Palmer should have his best season in years. But despite the optimism on the offensive end, last year’s defence has been shattered. The Cardinals had the best run defence in the NFL a year ago but have lost three of their top four performers. Darnell Dockett has a season-ending injury, Daryl Washington will serve a season-long suspension and Karlos Dansby left in free agency. A shame for what could have been an excellent season.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers coaching staff are promising that talented quarterback Colin Kaepernick will have a real breakout year after a disappointing season last year. With Kaepernick and Davis fully fit and Michael Crabtree back, the electric runner could finally deliver as a passer. Under Jim Harbaugh the 49ers defence has never been outside the top five, but injuries in key areas on the defensive line and a rebuilt secondary could see that run come to an end.

 

Seattle Seahawks

The defending champions have no weak spots. It doesn’t happen very often in the NFL but experts are predicting Pete Carroll’s team to repeat their Super Bowl win from a year ago. Last season they relied on their stellar defence and smash-mouth football to grind out wins, but Russell Wilson, entering his third year, will be given more responsibility to lead the offence - with Percy Harvin fully teams will have to be even more wary. The only major issue is injuries to the offensive line, but that was a problem last year and they still won it all.

 

St Louis Rams

The Sam Bradford era could be over and he may well go down as the biggest quarterback bust in league history. His $78m contract has garnered just 18 wins in four seasons but he still had the talent that made people believe in him – but he will now miss this entire season because of an ACL injury, leaving veteran Shaul Hill as the starter. The pass rush is the most formidable in the NFL but the Rams are a good team stuck in an exceptional division. Place them elsewhere and they would have a chance of reaching the playoffs, but not in the NFC West.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review