With the 2020 NFL regular season launching this week, we’re breaking down every division in a digestible fashion (you can see the AFC South here, the AFC West here, and the NFC South here). Here’s a rundown of the NFC West.
2019 result: 5-10-1, 4th place
Major additions: WR DeAndre Hopkins, LB Isaiah Simmons, OT Josh Jones, LB De’Vondre Campbell, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, edge Jordan Phillips, LB Devon Kennard
Major losses: RB David Johnson, CB Robert Alford (IR), OT Marcus Gilbert (COVID-19)
Why they could kick ass: The All-Pro Hopkins joins a stacked offense that could be positioned to take off in Year 2 for reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray and head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Plus, they now have Simmons supporting stars Chandler Jones and Patrick Peterson on D.
Why they could suck: The offense still might not be fully ready, especially after a weird offseason, and the defense was often problematic in 2019.
2020 prediction: 10-6, 3rd place, wild-card loss
Los Angeles Rams
2019 result: 9-7, 3rd place
Major additions: RB Cam Akers, WR Van Jefferson, LB Leonard Floyd
Major losses: S Eric Weddle (retired), RB Todd Gurley, LB Cory Littleton, edge Dante Fowler Jr., CB Nickell Robey-Coleman
Why they could kick ass: Sean McVay is a great coach, Aaron Donald is the best defensive player in the game, and a version of this team was in the Super Bowl less than two years ago.
Why they could suck: They’ve been gutted since, especially on defense. They went all in on 2019 and now the bills are due. It will be very hard to compete without so many key players from 2018 and 2019.
2020 prediction: 6-10, 4th place
San Francisco 49ers
2019 result: 13-3, 1st place, Super Bowl loss
Major additions: OT Trent Williams, WR Brandon Aiyuk, DT Javon Kinlaw
Major losses: OT Joe Staley (retired), WR Emmanuel Sanders, DT DeForest Buckner
Why they could kick ass: They were a Super Bowl team last year, and they basically replaced everyone they lost this offseason.
Why they could suck: It’s hard to imagine it, but if quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is traumatized by his poor Super Bowl performance, he could have a nightmare season.
2020 prediction: 12-4, 1st place, divisional-round loss
2019 result: 11-5, 2nd place, divisional-round loss
Major additions: S Jamal Adams, TE Greg Olsen, WR Phillip Dorsett, RB Carlos Hyde, OL Cedric Ogbuehi, OL B.J. Finney, G Damien Lewis, edge Bruce Irvin, CB Quinton Dunbar
Major losses: OT George Fant, OT Brandon Shell, DT Quinton Jefferson, G D.J. Fluker, OT Germain Ifedi
Why they could kick ass: Quarterback Russell Wilson always gives them a shot, and now he has a hell of a receiver duo in Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Throw in Adams on defense and they will be in the hunt again.
Why they could suck: As you can see, they again shuffled the offensive line chairs. But it’s not clear they got any better there, and the pass rush will likely remain a problem as well.
2020 prediction: 11-5, 2nd place, divisional-round loss