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NFC West vs. AFC West
Jake White @JakeWhite58 Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus
The Seahawks, 49ers, Cardinals, and defending Super Bowl Champion Rams. How does this deep division compare to its AFC counterparts? The Raiders, Chargers, Broncos, and Chiefs, are arguably the most improved division in the NFL this year and almost a mirrored complexion to the NFC West.
You may want to start and say that the Chiefs and the Rams are the most similar teams, and you could not be more wrong. They may be the most recent Super Bowl Champs from their divisions, but that’s where the comparisons stop.
The Rams are more comparable to the Broncos from my view. Both teams have an older, almost past their prime Quarterback. We know that Russell Wilson can win, and he did a lot of that in Seattle before being traded this off-season to Denver. But will the change of scenery allow him to recapture that early career glory? Matthew Stafford never even sniffed glory before getting to Los Angeles, and now has a Lombardi Trophy to his name.
Now we all know the Rams have a unique formula to their success, they have traded away most of their draft capital and have built a championship team. Also drafting Aaron Donald years ago doesn’t hurt. But the Broncos have done something similar on a much smaller scale. They have traded or signed in free agency for several key pieces on their defense and turned them from a pretender to a contender… on paper.
The next teams to compare might anger some people, but the Chargers and Cardinals are crazy similar in my eyes. Two teams that have been all the hype in the off-season, have all the players, and a young gun-slinging Quarterback, but in the end, have accomplished nothing and still receive all the hype every preseason.
The Chargers and Quarterback Justin Herbert are constantly praised as being one of the deepest and most talented teams in the NFL but have yet to show anything past the regular season. That has been due to a few reasons, injuries being one of the bigger ones, and also playing Patrick Mahomes late in the season.
The Cardinals on the other hand came out last season playing like a team on fire and eventually fizzled out as their star Wide Receiver Deandre Hopkins and Quarterback Kyler Murray were both oft-injured and succumbed to the pressure of the season.
The teams have several superstars on both sides of the ball and have shown they can play with the toughest teams. Until they can make that transition to the playoffs and produce, these teams will live in “what could have been” territory.
Now I’m going to compare the Raiders and the Seahawks, not because I think they have a lot in common but because their weaknesses are very similar. Both have underwhelming Offensive Lines, subpar defenses, and an other-worldly Wide Receiver.
As a writer for Chiefs Focus, I will also say I am constantly under-whelmed by Derek Carr, and people love to hype him up. But I’ve seen this man throw some lame ducks to Daniel Sorenson. We all know the trouble that Drew Lock had with the Broncos, and that will most likely carry over to the less equipped Seahawks.
But the Raiders are contenders this year and the Seahawks are in a rebuilding phase. The Raiders have a top 5 Tight End in Darren Waller, and arguably the best receiver in the game in Devante Adams. They will be a tough team this year and if Derek Carr can live up to the lofty expectations put on him, they will be competitive again.
It’s funny the last two teams to make a comparison to are the Chiefs and 49rs, the two teams that met in Super Bowl 54. But these teams are much different than they were three years ago.
The Chiefs have traded away uber-talented and Wasp-receiving Tyreek Hill and the 49ers have discovered and unleashed uber-talented Deebo Samuel. The other big difference is Patrick Mahomes is still one of the best Quarterbacks in the NFL and the 49ers have abandoned Jimmy Garoppolo in favor of second-year Quarterback Trey Lance. The defense for the 49ers is still fronted by Nick Bosa, and the Chiefs still lean on Chris Jones for pressure.
But much like the Raiders and Seahawks comparison, the Chiefs are in win-now mode and the 49ers are still meshing with several of their stars and we need to see how Trey Lance will lead this team. I think the 49ers will be competitive and we will learn more about them sooner rather than later.
The two divisions are extremely comparable, with top-heavy Juggernaut teams in the Chiefs and Rams. Two contending but underwhelming teams in the Chargers and Cardinals. A pair of paper-thin competitors in the Raiders and 49ers. Bringing up the rear are two teams that traded QBs but might still be stuck in the mud the Broncos and Seahawks. Overall these are two divisions to watch this season.