Los Angeles Rams
Despite leading his Rams to the Super Bowl a few seasons ago, QB Jared Goff seemed to have trouble executing head coach Sean McVay’s offense last season, so in the offseason, he was traded to the Detroit Lions for their starting QB Matthew Stafford with the hope that his arm and football IQ will do the job better.
In Detroit, Stafford seemed to put up respectable or better numbers but for a Lions team that could never convert that production into wins, but now in L.A., he will have a team that’s just a QB short of being a winner, or at least that is what the Rams’ front office is gambling on.
Matthew Stafford was a superstar in Detroit. With drips and drabs of support around him, Stafford posted 45,109 passing yards with 282 TD and 144 INT over 165 regular-season games. He added 1,198 rush yards and 14 scores.
Since the Rams traded two first-round picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars for star cornerback Jalen Ramsey a few seasons ago, the Rams didn’t have any first-round pick in this year’s draft.
Having to wait to the 2nd round of the Draft this year, the Rams drafted WR Tutu Atwell, LB Ernest Jones, DT Bobby Brown III. Not only did they add depth to their WR in the draft, but the team also signed speedster DeSean Jackson. With talent packed in the team’s WR, it should be possible for Matthew Stafford to post a career year.
Having a solid defensive unit, Los Angeles Rams bolster a team with great depth. Having Matthew Stafford as their QB Rams should be the favorite alongside the 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers
There are still plenty of trade rumors floating around when it comes to San Francisco 49ers starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo, but so far, no actual movement has happened and the team leader who has missed 23 games in the last three seasons.
Making a blockbuster deal, before the 2021 NFL Draft, the 49ers moved up and selected third overall. Trevor Lawrence went first overall, Zach Wilson was second, and the 49ers selected North Dakota State star Trey Lance third. Jimmy Garoppolo is the projected Week 1 starter. However, that may change as the preseason plays out.
One smart thing the Niners’ front office did was keep their most valuable free agent, left tackle Trent Williams, who they worked out a 6-year, $138 million deal with, making him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history, and giving whoever the team starts under center the ultimate protection. But will it be enough to keep Garoppolo healthy?
Longer than a postgame laundry list, San Francisco was walloped by injuries in 2020. No team lost more players, of more value, than the 49ers did. Jimmy Garoppolo was 3-1, Nick Mullens 2–7, and C.J. Beathard, 1–2, formed a carousel at QB. They finished with 4,320 combined passing yards, 25 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. The subpar numbers come from injuries to TE George Kittle and WR Deebo Samuel for most of the season.
This offseason, the Seahawks front office was battling zero salary cap space and had no first-round pick in the draft due to their earlier trade for veteran safety Jamal Adams.
Russell Wilson racked up 28 TD passes over the first eight games. That helped Seattle post the most points (459) in franchise history. Seahawks also claimed their first NFC West Division title since the 2016 season. The offense scored 28.7 points per game, while the defense allowed 23.2 points per game. Seattle was in the race for a BYE week, but had to settle for a wild-card berth and lost 30–20 to the Rams in the playoffs.
Wilson’s contract insecurities will continue as his contract doesn’t expire until the end of the 2023 season. However, he wants a new contract, but negotiations are and have been slow. A big season will cost Seattle, or any team that signs him, a lot of money next year. Tyler Lockett and Chris Carson resigning are positive signs for the offense.
Because the Seahawks had close to zero money in their salary cap, they lost CB Shaquill Griffen and WR David Moore in the offseason. Replacing CB Shaquill Griffen, Seahawks drafted CB Tre Brown with talent added to the WR corps with D´Wayne Eskridge. To replace TE Jacob Hollister, Seahawks added TE Gerald Everett but will it be enough to secure a divisional title?
The Cardinals got far better on defense this offseason when they ended up winning the battle for free agent defensive end J.J. Watt, who seemed to have his pick of NFL franchises to choose from, and now the team has a viable pass rush that will have opposing offenses and QBs rattled.
The big question is whether head coach Kliff Kingsbury is capable of further developing their young QB, Kyler Murray, who so far has proven himself to be capable of playing at an NFL level, completing almost 66 percent of his passes for 46 touchdowns in two seasons, though with 24 interceptions.
After Kenyan Drake signed with Las Vegas, Chase Edmonds and James Conner will likely work in a running back committee system. A dynamic duo last year, following their first full season together, WR Hopkins and QB Kyler Murray should pick up where they left off. If he can stay healthy, newly acquired WR A.J. Green will be a huge addition.
But with Kliff Kingsbury entering his 2nd year as HC, the chances seem low for the Arizona Cardinals to bag the divisional title. Cardinals’ problems are their secondary that lacks depth. However, being in the toughest division will prove to be too much, and a win total of 8 to 9 wins seems viable.
Why Los Angeles Rams will win the NFC East this season
Being neck and neck as the favorites in the division, the deciding factor between Rams and the 49ers should be the injuries that continue to ruin the 49ers. 49ers have too many pieces that break during a season. In addition, the offensive weapons on the 49ers lack in comparison to the Rams WR group. But having a better pass rush with solid CB Rams will take the division in another season plagued by injuries for the San Francisco 49ers.