The 2017 NFC West has a different feel than it normally does. Seattle may be considered the best of the division, but the Los Angeles Rams may have something to say about that sooner rather than later.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay has two games under his belt. The rookie head coach saw his first loss on Sunday, being beaten by his old team, the Washington Redskins 27-20. For LA, there were more good things than not to point to in the loss, and as you look around the NFC West, those good things could yield a change at the top of the division.
As I wrote yesterday, the smart money is still on the Seattle Seahawks. They have a Super Bowl caliber defense, and one of the best quarterbacks in the league. They’ve been the standard bearer in the West and the team to beat. Outside of the Arizona Cardinals, it’s been the Seahawks and everyone else looking up these last few seasons.
But if the last two weeks are any indication, the top of the division may be in play.
Seattle is 1-1, with an unimpressive win on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Brian Hoyer led, 49ers.
Hey in Week 2, given the lack of any serious game evaluation that now is four awful weeks of exhibition football, it’s a reasonable assumption that teams are still figuring it out. And with the typical overreaction that happens each Monday morning, three quarters of the NFC West at 1-1 is hardly telling of where we’ll be after Week 17.
But it’s hard to ignore Seattle tracking back to the pack, whatever that still may be in this division. Through two weeks, the best team from top to bottom may be the Rams, if for no other reason than they are scoring points on offense, something they didn’t do last season.
Los Angeles appears to be moving up.
With McVay, quarterback Jared Goff looks to be headed in the right direction. He gave up an easy interception late in the fourth quarter that clearly took away any chance of a tying touchdown, but for nearly eight complete quarters, he’s been awfully good.
The Rams on offense aren’t the 2016 version, either. Had this game been played under the exact same conditions and location last season, LA gets beaten and probably badly. If they can fix what happened with their run defense, something Wade Phillips and his charges admit needs to be, it’s hard to ignore how much improved and balanced this team now is.
Which is the best way of saying Seattle winning the West may no longer be a lock as it has been in recent history. Don’t forget, the Rams typically give the Seahawks fits, yielding a split record with them in 2014 and 2016, and sweeping them in 2015.
This year will require all 17 weeks to play out, where it has not the last few seasons. Again, the betting money, if you’re heading to a window today to make such a wager, should be on Seattle.
I get that completely.
But Los Angeles is making the kind of move that may make you rethink such a proposition. Seattle is no longer the lock to win the NFC West that they were just a few weeks ago.
Neither are the Los Angeles Rams in the role of bottom feeders.