Home Sports NFC West preview and predictions: Seahawks will keep the pressure on 49ers

NFC West preview and predictions: Seahawks will keep the pressure on 49ers


Steve Serby previews the NFC West as The Post gives division-by-division breakdowns ahead of the 2020 NFL season.

1. Seattle Seahawks

Coach: Pete Carroll

2019 record: 11-5

O/U wins: 9 ¹/₂

Key additions: S Jamal Adams, TE Greg Olsen, RB Carlos Hyde, WR Philip Dorsett, OT Brandon Shell, CB Quinton Dunbar, OLB Bruce Irvin, DE Benson Mayowa

Key losses: DE Jadeveon Clowney, OT George Fant, S Bradley McDougald, OT Germain Ifedi, G D.J. Fluker, DE Quinton Jefferson

First-and-goal: QB Russell Wilson needs no introduction or explanation. Straight Baller. Gamer. Winner. WR D.K. Metcalf is emerging opposite clutch, efficient Tyler Lockett. RB Chris Carson is the tip of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s Ground-and-Pound spear. Ageless TE Greg Olsen (52 catches) will be in the TV booth, just not yet. The secondary could be another Legion of Boom with Adams joining S Quandre Diggs, Pro Bowl CB Shaquill Griffin and Dunbar. Bobby Wagner averages 134 tackles a season over his eight-year career for a loaded linebacker unit.

Russell Wilson 49ers
Russell Wilson rolls out of the pocket against the 49ers last season.Getty Images

Fourth-and-long: The pass rush (28 sacks). Maybe old friend/veteran Irvin (8.5 sacks) will help. The offensive line surrendered a league-high 48 sacks. LT Duane Brown is the lone returning starter. The absence of their 12th Man.

Serby Says: 10-6. A motivated Adams helps Wilson overtake the 49ers.

2. San Francisco 49ers

Coach: Kyle Shanahan

2019 record: 13-3

O/U wins: 10 ¹/₂

Key additions: LT Trent Williams, DT Javon Kinlaw, WR Brandon Aiyuk, G Tom Compton, TE Jordan Reed

Key losses: DT DeForest Buckner, LT Joe Staley, WR Emmanuel Sanders, RB Matt Breida, RG Mike Person

First-and-goal: TE George Kittle is the highest-paid (five years, $75 million) at his position because there isn’t a thing he cannot do. The O-line is anchored by Williams and RT Mike McGlinchey. The pass rush is intimidating with DEs Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead and OLB Dee Ford. LB Fred Warner is an emerging star and Richard Sherman is a young 32. Safeties Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt are a nice tandem. LB Kwon Alexander can cover. Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t quite a top 10-QB, but the club hails him as a winner. RB Raheem Mostert is a TD threat whenever he touches the ball, and Jerick McKinnon can be a factor in the passing game if he can finally stay healthy. WR Deebo Samuel (broken foot in June) hopes to be ready Week 1; he is dangerous after the catch. Shanahan is an elite playcaller.

George Kittle
George KittleGetty Images

Fourth-and-long: Center Weston Richburg returns with a surgical knee alongside new RG Tom Compton. Samuel is iffy for Week 1 and fellow WR Aiyuk is a rookie. First-rounder Kinlaw has impressed with his power, but will share time with DT Solomon Thomas replacing Buckner. CB Ahkello Witherspoon or Emmanuel Moseley had better be ready opposite Sherman.

Serby Says: 10-6. A Super Bowl runner-up hangover.

3. Arizona Cardinals

Coach: Kliff Kingsbury

2019 record: 5-10-1

O/U wins: 6 1/2

Key additions: WR DeAndre Hopkins, LB Isaiah Simmons, LB Devon Kennard, DT Jordan Phillips, LB De’Vondre Campbell, OT Josh Jones, OT Kelvin Beachum

Key losses: RB David Johnson, WR Damiere Byrd, C A.Q. Shipley, TE Charles Clay

First-and-goal: Air Raid QB Kyler Murray is hardly too short, and with new addition Hopkins joining ageless Larry Fitzgerald and blazer Christian Kirk, he should make that second-year leap. RB Kenyan Drake averaged 5.2 yards per carry in eight games as a Cardinal, and backup Chase Edmonds isn’t chopped liver. OLB Chandler Jones (19 sacks) has reached double digits six times. CB Patrick Peterson is motivated to show that his 2019 season was an aberration. Hybrid FS Budda Baker has zero interceptions over 46 games but was considered valuable enough to secure a four-year, $59 million extension. NT Corey Peters is a run-stuffer. Kingsbury is in good feet with K Zane Gonzalez and P Andy Lee.

Fourth-and-long: CB Dre Kirkpatrick was an emergency signing after starter Robert Alford (pec) was lost for the season. Beachum, 31, could start at right tackle ahead of the rookie Jones. The club extended TE Maxx Williams and should expect more than 15 receptions and one touchdown from him.

Serby Says: 9-7 A second-year leap from Murray makes them contenders.

4. Los Angeles Rams

Coach: Sean McVay

2019 record: 9-7

O/U wins: 8 ¹/₂

Key additions: OLB Leonard Floyd, RB Cam Akers, WR Van Jefferson

Key losses: RB Todd Gurley, WR Brandin Cooks, LB Cory Littleton, DE Dante Fowler, OLB Clay Mathews, CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, S Eric Weddle, K Greg Zuerlein

First-and-goal: DT Aaron Donald, who is in a league of his own, was drafted one pick after the Giants selected Odell Beckham Jr. WRs Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are an underrated duo. TEs Tyler Higbee (69 receptions) and Gerald Everett (37) are weapons. LT Andrew Whitworth will turn 39 in December, but he’s still going strong. Shutdown CB Jalen Ramsey is waiting on a big-ticket extension. Punter Johnny Hekker is a weapon. McVay is a bright young leader.

Fourth-and-long: QB Jared Goff needs to be better against the better defenses. The interior offensive line is iffy. Pro Football Focus ranked the linebacker unit the worst in the league. No timetable for return on DT A’Shawn Robinson (cardiovascular condition). It won’t be easy replacing Greg The Leg.

Serby Says: 6-10 Too many question marks, including the quarterback.

Check out the other NFL division breakdowns from The Post for the 2020 season:

AFC East preview


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