NFC West: Seattle Seahawks
This division boasts the hottest rivalry for the 2013 season. The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers just don’t like each other. Both teams are actually pretty similar. They both have young QB’s going into their second season as starters. Both have top 5 defenses. They have Pro Bowl running backs. They have head coaches whose rivalry out-dates their tenures in the NFC West.
Dec 23, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; General view of the line of scrimmage as Seattle Seahawks long snapper Clint Gresham snaps the ball against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
I give the edge to the Seahawks over the reigning champion San Francisco 49ers. The ‘Hawks beefed up their defensive line this offseason by signing former Lions defensive end Cliff Avril and versatile Buccaneers lineman Michael Bennett. For the other side of the ball, Seattle added a serious weapon in Percy Harvin. Marshawn Lynch should benefit from Harvin’s persence. He will draw plenty of coverage. And now think about this: the Seahawks starting defensive backs are Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Antoine Winfield, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Wow.
The 49ers had a pretty strong offseason. They picked up a couple nice players in Anquan Boldin and Nnamdi Asomugha (in hindsight, Boldin proved to be an incredible pickup after Michael Crabtree went down for the season with an Achilles tear).If Crabtree stayed healthy, we would be talking about the 49ers as one of the top receiving groups in the NFL. Now with Ted Ginn Jr. playing in Tampa Bay, and the injury to Crabtree, Colin Kaepernick has a lot less selection in the WR department.
San Francisco let Dashon Goldson walk in free agency, and attempted to fill that void in the draft with LSU safety Eric Reid. I’m certain that Reid will be a strong safety as he develops, but there’s no doubt the ‘9ers are better with Goldson covering the top of the defense. I would still expect the San Francisco defense to be one of the top 5 in the NFL, but teams with a strong deep threat WR may have a little more success against the 49ers than last season.
You could probably pick either the Seahawks or 49ers here, and I’m taking Seattle.