St. Louis Rams: Why They Should Win the NFC West in 2012
The 49ers have all but already been crowned NFC West champions, largely on the back of what they did in 2011.
The problem is, we still have a whole season to play.
The 49ers defense should be stout again, but the offense still has to score points.
Alex Smith was a nice story last season, but I'll be interested to see if he can repeat. I'm also not sold on Randy Moss as a difference maker, especially if the 49ers struggle out of the gate early and his 2010 behavior resurfaces.
Seattle will test drive Matt Flynn as a starter in an offense with Marshawn Lynch and not much else. Even Lynch, however, is no sure-thing to play a full season thanks to his recent off-field transgression.
All of this leaves the door open for the St. Louis Rams to conquer a division that is ripe for the taking.
On offense, Sam Bradford is healthy and his line is experienced. Steven Jackson will get needed rest throughout the year thanks to the drafting of Isaiah Pead and the receiving core is a deep as any in the league.
Defensively, middle linebacker James Laurinaitus returns as the leader of a young unit on the brink of achieving its full potential.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins looks to have immediate impact as a shutdown corner, while the addition of veteran Cortland Finnegan should provide more leadership in the secondary and a bit of swagger to go along with it.
People will sleep on this defense and in my opinion, pay dearly for it.
With the schedules being so similar, the NFC West could very well be decided by the two games between St. Louis and San Francisco. As difficult as the 49ers defense is to score on, I am confident that St. Louis has enough offensive firepower to outscore the 49ers.
A split of the two game series would keep the Rams in the hunt. A sweep might very well clinch the division.
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