NFL predictions: Rams, 49ers class of NFC West

Mandatory Credit: Ronald C. Modra-Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Ronald C. Modra-Getty Images /
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The NFC West has vastly improved this offseason with notable free agent signings, and looks to put the rest of the NFC on notice come September.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals signed their man in journeyman quarterback Sam Bradford this offseason in hopes to remain in contention with the rest of the NFC West. After Carson Palmer and Bruce Ariens announced their retirement, the Cardinals had to make a splash in free agency to avoid an all-out rebuild.

Is Bradford, 30, the long-term answer for the Cardinals? Time will tell, but there are two key pieces that’ll help him succeed under center: 1. running back David Johnson and 2. Larry Fitzgerald.

Johnson is one of the premier backs across the league, even missing majority of the 2017 season, Johnson is a workhorse. A back who catch out of the backfield, rush for over 1,000 yards and find the end zone constantly.

Fitzgerald is going to retire sooner rather than later, but the 34-year old receiver showed last season, that there is still gas in the tank.

It’ll be up to new head coach Steve Wilks and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy to get the offense rolling in 2018. Behind a defense led by Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals aren’t a bad team on either side of the ball. Their question will be: can they keep up with the rest of the division?

And, let me tell you, the NFC West is loaded. But for now, let’s take a look at their schedule.

Home Opponents: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins.

Road Opponents: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons.

Looking at their record, there are some winnable home games, and not-so winnable road games. Their divisional games will be a tough test for the Cardinals, but games against Chicago, Detroit and Denver could either be a cakewalk or lead to some crucial home losses.

Their road slate against the likes of Green Bay, Atlanta, Los Angeles and the division, look quite scary on paper, but maybe the schedule makers will throw them a bone.

Prediction:  5-11

It’s going to be a long season for the Cardinals, even with one of the most accurate passers in Bradford, their schedule this year does them no favors in and out of the division. Another major factor will be the health of Bradford, who has missed a high number of games the past two seasons.