4th and a Mile’s NFL Preview: NFC West

Published 11:00 pm Monday, August 30, 2010

Today marks the beginning of the 4th and a Mile blog’s division by division NFL Preview. Enjoy (hopefully).

Quick Note: The way this is going to be formatted is that I will preview the team with a couple of quick blurbs in order of how I think they will finish in their division for the year.

1. San Francisco 49ers: 10-6 (prediction)

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Likes: Their line lacked grit and run blocking ability, so they spent their two first round picks on a combined 654-pounds of offensive lineman in guard Mike Iupati (Idaho) and tackle Anthony Davis (Rutgers). Both rookies are starting and looked great in the preseason. Expect Frank Gore to have a giant season barring injury, and if he does go down, 245-pound rookie runner Anthony Dixon will be a force.

Dislikes: 2009 was the only year since being the No. 1 overall pick in 2005 that Alex Smith had looked even competent, and he still threw 12 picks in 11 games. This should worry Niners fans.

Overall: The 49ers have gotten a lot of hype this year as a bandwagon pick, and I think they could be really good, but I don’t know if they could win ten games in anything but the worst division in the NFL.

2. Arizona Cardinals: 8-8

Likes: I don’t think the receiving corps misses a beat with Steve Breaston and Early Doucet filling in for Anquan Boldin. They both have height and speed, things that obviously cause problems for anyone trying to cover them.

Dislikes: Recasting Matt Leinart in the Kurt Warner role is like asking Keanu Reeves to play the Joker in the next Batman movie. It will bring everyone down, whether you’re a viewer or part of the cast (but especially if you’re Larry Fitzgerald, who is sort of Christian Bale in this analogy. Christian Bale will have less than 75 receptions in 2010, I guarantee it).

Overall: The defense actually gets better with Kerry Rhodes replacing Antrelle Rolle and the young D-line having more experience (Calais Campbell, Darnell Docket and rookie Dan Williams could be the best 3-4 line ever by 2012). But I don’t see them making the postseason with Leinart or Derek Anderson at quarterback.

3. Seattle Seahawks: 6-10

Likes: If everyone on the team stays healthy, they could be a 9-7 team behind running back Justin Forsett and a rebuilt offensive line. That’s a big, begging to be injured ‘if.’

Dislikes: Pete Carroll’s slimy Karma. How does this guy leave USC and all of their wrongdoings without a scratch? He clearly had some hand in all of that. The football gods will surely punish him.

Overall: I see Hassellbeck getting hurt again, the key guys on D going down, 10 losses, and Leon Washington having a good Fantasy year. That’s it.

4) St. Louis Rams: 4-12

Likes: Sam Bradford looks like the real deal, and keep an eye on rookie offensive tackle Rodger Saffold from Indiana. He has looked great in the preseason and is a natural pass blocker with good feat and a little mean streak. Super-stud running back Steven Jackson is probably excited about this year’s offensive line.

Dislikes: The entire D-line is weak and the receiving core will be abysmal, especially given that their No. 1 wide-out Donnie Avery is out for the season with a torn ACL.

Overall: The worst team in football in 2009 will be improved to maybe the 3rd worst team in football. I see an upset of the Cards and the Seahawks in divisional play.