I was listening to NFL Radio that airs on Serius/XM last week and I heard something that just blew my mind away. The hosts Tim Brown and Jack’a’root(pardon the spelling) were discussing the best division in football and the NFC West came in as an after though. Somehow, someway they still considered the inconsistent NFC East to be the best division in football. These guys do have their opinions don’t get me wrong on that, but in this case their opinions were wrong. Watch out NFL because the NFC West is on the rise and is the best division in football.
I would agree that the NFC East was the best division in football a few years ago when the division was sending two or three teams to the playoffs on a consistent basis, but that tradition is one that looks to be ending. The NFC East may just be turning into the NFC West of old, where the team to win the division only has to win eight or nine games. The NFC East may be the most exciting division in football as the division normally comes down to the final week of the season. In 2011, the Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles all had a chance to win the division in the final week. However the NFC East certainly isn’t the best. Most exciting? Maybe. But the best? Probably not.
The NFC West used to be the laughing stock of the NFL. However the tides have turned and statistically speaking the NFC West is the best division in football, as the division had an average winning percentage of .54725. The NFC West has also sent two teams to the playoffs the last two seasons, and have one at least their first playoff game the last nine years. The NFC West may have been the laughing stock of the NFL in the regular season, but when it came to the playoffs, the NFC West is always ready to play. The last time an NFC West team did not win their first playoff game was back in 2004 when the Rams lost to the Carolina Panthers which may have caused the decline of the franchise over the next decade.
It was as if three years ago when the Seahawks won the division at 7-9, the NFC West found that embarrassing and everyone decided to all of a sudden get better, much better. The Cardinals may have gone 5-11 last season, but they started out the season 4-0, beating the Patriots and Seahawks in the process. The Cardinals are putting their faith in Carson Palmer, who may just be what the Cardinals needed at the quarterback position. If it’s on thing Palmer can do it is air the ball down the field.
The Rams haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006 and have posted one of the worst league records since then. However the Rams went 4-1-1 in the division last year and just got a whole lot better this off season by adding playmakers and solidifying the offensive line with Jake Long. The Rams could definitely be a contender in 2013, but even if they aren’t, I wouldn’t sleep on them.
The Seahawks are going to be good once again this season and it would not be surprising if this team ended up winning the division this season or making a super bowl run. The Seahawks, as much as I hate to say it, are legit and will be contenders this season. They added Percy Harvin in the offseason and added more depth to their defensive line. The Seahawks will be a team to watch in 2013.
The 49ers will be good once again in 2013 and it will be Colin Kaepernick’s first full NFL season. No team has lost the super bowl and returned the next season since the Buffalo Bills did it 3 years in a row in the 90’s. The odds may be against them, but don’t rule out the 49ers returning to the big game and winning it this time. The 49ers had a fantastic draft adding talented players to already one of the more talented rosters in the league. The 49ers are ready to get over the hump and win. It’s not a question if they will do it, but when.
It is time for people to begin to recognize the NFC West as the best division in football if they haven’t already. The NFC West will be representing the NFC in the Super Bowl on more than one occasion over the next decade. This year was not a one time thing. With the Seahawks and 49ers already two of the top contenders in the NFL and the Rams and Cardinals on the rise, these teams are for real and come ready to play and hit hard every week. Russell Wilson has already been quoted saying that he wouldn’t be surprised if three teams came out of the west and made the playoffs this next season, and nobody should be surprised. All four teams are legit and the division will be a fun one to watch for many years to come.