NFL Preview Bonanza: NFC West

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Last Season: 4-12

This Season: 10-6, NFC #2

Healthy again after a season of injuries, the Seahawks return to their usual perch atop the NFL’s weakest division. T.J. Houshmandzadeh is the best receiver Matt Hasselbeck has ever had in Seattle, and Edgerrin James is still a good enough running back to keep teams honest. I don’t think the Seahawks are a great team, or even a very good one. They’re decent, and decent has been enough in this division for a long time.

Tim’s favorite player in Seattle Seahawk history is…: Dave Krieg beats out the man he always threw the ball to, Steve Largent.

You didn’t pick Largent? I know; that would have been too easy.

A Great and Recent Seahawk Game: This was already a pretty wild Wild Card Game, and then came the end.

That’s just another gratuitous shot at the Cowboys: True, but what did you want me to pick? That “classic” NFC Championship against the Panthers?

That’s right! The Seahawks went to the Super Bowl! I had this exact conversation with my brother the other day. The Seahawks actually went to the Super Bowl.

Remember when Matt Hasselbeck made that bold coin toss prediction in Green Bay? Who could forget?

If the Seahawks were a mainstream North American band, they would be: Nickelback. Because I’m kind of getting sick of them. (Doesn’t it suck how they don’t match a Seattle band?)

Did you know? There is actually no such thing as a “seahawk.”

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Last Season: 9-7

This Season: 9-7, NFC #6

The Cardinals become just the second team this decade to avoid the Super Bowl runner-up hex—and both have come from the NFC West. You have to remember that prior to the playoffs, Arizona wasn’t very good. The Cardinals couldn’t win on the road, their defense was suspect, and they had no running game. Those flaws haven’t been fixed in the off-season; if anything, they’ve been exacerbated by the loss of both coordinators. And anybody expecting Larry Fitzgerald to follow up his “breakout” performance from the playoffs, well, he was that good during the season.

Tim’s favorite player in Arizona Cardinal history is…: Maybe the best cornerback of the last 15 years: Aeneas Williams.

Is he the greatest Cardinal ever? You can make a strong case. Who are the other candidates? Dierdorf and Lomax?

Fitzgerald? Give it time, and he will be.

How about that 2004 Draft? It gave us Fitzgerald, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Sean Taylor, Kellen Winslow, Roy Williams, DeAngelo Hall, Jonathan Vilma, and Steven Jackson—all Pro Bowlers. And the Raiders got Robert Gallery at No. 2.

A Great and Recent Cardial Game: We’ll go with one from the lean years—Josh McCown’s unfathomable comeback to knock the Vikings out of the playoffs in Week 17 in 2003.

Those monochrome jerseys were terrible: Yeah, the Cardinals’ new unis have grown on me.

If the Cardinals were a work of literature, they would be: Faust, because the deal with the devil only lasts so long, Kurt.

Did you know? The Cardinals once had a quarterback named Timm Rosenbach. The second “m” always struck me as vulgar.

ST. LOUIS RAMS

Last Season: 2-14

This Season: 7-9

Another team where everything went wrong last year. Marc Bulger can be a serviceable NFL quarterback, Steven Jackson is still one of the five best running backs in the league, and I believe in Steve Spagnuolo’s ability to overhaul that defense. St. Louis will recover some more of the many fumbles they caused last season, take advantage of better field position, and sneak away with five more wins.

Tim’s favorite player in St. Louis Ram history is…: Jack Youngblood played with a broken leg in the Super Bowl. A BROKEN LEG!

What about his brother? Oh, you mean Jim Youngblood? He was, amazingly, not related to Jack.

A Great and Recent Ram Game: Can you really go with anything except this?

That offense was amazing: I mean, do people remember how good Marshall Faulk was? That guy was unstoppable!

You know what was dumb? When the Cowboys traded down in the draft to move from taking Steven Jackson to taking Julius Jones.

If the Rams were a Michael Jackson song, they would be: “Bad.” Pretty self-explanatory.

Did you know? The first two times the Rams appeared in the Super Bowl, they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Last Season: 7-9

This Season: 6-10

I went back and forth on the Niners, originally thinking they could win this division. And they can; they finished very strong last year under Mike Singletary. Still, Shaun Hill is the quarterback, Frank Gore is already getting up in age, and I can’t name a single receiver on this team aside from Michael Crabtree, and he’s not really on the team, is he? That said, I still believe in Singletary, and I expect this team to be in the playoffs next season.

Tim’s favorite player in San Francisco 49er history is…: Montana. ’Nuff said.

Why not Steve Young or Ricky Watters or Jeff Garcia or Terrell Owens? You mean the guys on Niner teams that beat the Giants in the playoffs in my memory? Yeah, why not those guys?

Will you ever get over 2002? Never. Let me tell you why: The next week, I saw a guy in Church wearing a Steve Young jersey. In Church. One week after the Niners ripped out the hearts of all Giant fans. In Church. On the East Coast. What is wrong with that guy?

A Great and Recent Niner Game: We’ll go with two great finishes, one from the regular season and another from the playoffs.

That was a ridiculous game: I know. Almost certainly the greatest Wild Card game in NFL history, considering the quality and recent history of the two teams.

Remember that Steve Young run? You mean this one?

How do 49er fans feel about Montana’s career in Kansas City? Something I’ve always wondered, since they replaced him so easily with Young.

Yeah, they had some good quarterbacking there? I mean, you look at quarterback turnover, and that it’s rare to find a good and consistent quarterback for longer than five years. And then you look at the two decades of Hall of Fame play San Francisco got there from Montana and Young, and you think, “You know what? I don’t feel too bad for them.”

What’s the most exciting thing about the Niners this season? Their new uniforms! A great mix of old and new, they’re the best new set the NFL has produced in at least a decade.

If the 49ers were a college football program, they would be: SMU. They were good once, you know, in the ‘80s.

Did you know? Bill Walsh was the smartest man to ever coach in the NFL.

Did you know 2? Because they are the last team previewed, the 49ers will also become John’s team in 2009. Time to buy that retro Rice jersey, John!

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by John S on September 12, 2009 at 12:40 AM

    Youngblood is like Smith in some cultures

    Reply

  2. […] seems embarrassing and borderline insane that it was just last season that I predicted these Seahawks to win the NFC West and earn a first-round playoff bye.* Seattle was coming off an injury-riddled 2008, and the Seahawks had been to the playoffs the five […]

    Reply

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