Seattle Suddenly Finds Itself In An Incredibly Competitive NFC West

Nov 19, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap (43) celebrates with teammates following a fourth down sack against the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Only once since 2011 have the Seattle Seahawks failed to make it to the playoffs out of the NFC West, and they still finished second with a winning record in 2017. However, following ever-improving records of 10-6, 11-5, and 12-4 over the last few campaigns, the Seahawks suddenly have a tremendous amount of competition.

Last season, despite there being question marks around several of the team’s units, the Seahawks stormed to their first division title since 2016. In fairness, as the season progressed, it became clear that fate had stacked the deck in Seattle’s favor. As the Cardinals were still rebuilding, the Rams’ offense plateaued, and the San Francisco 49ers were hit by a spate of injuries.

Now, coming into the 2021 NFL season, despite the division champions arguably improving in many regards, the Seahawks find themselves in a very close race to the top.

Time for the Seahawks to Truly Test Their Mettle

Since the demise of the much-feared “Legion of Boom,” it’s been nothing short of spectacular to see the Seahawks remain among the very best of the NFC. The efforts of talisman quarterback Russell Wilson have more than compensated for an often porous offensive line, much weaker defense, and generally lower-grade collection of talent around him.

Still, this season, it might not be enough. As shown by football betting sites like Space Casino, the Seahawks aren’t even the favorites to win the NFC West. The Los Angeles Rams and 49ers are neck-and-neck at +185, with Seattle out at +340 and the Arizona Cardinals being the not-too-distant outsiders at +660. Simply put: the Seahawks have a lot of competition in 2021.

The shift in expert favoritism here is perfectly warranted, too, with some big offseason moves being made by each of the contenders to Seattle’s crown.

A Bust Offseason to Forge a Scary NFC West

The Seahawks look to have a much better offensive line this season, not that it was terrible last season, provided that Brandon Shell holds up at right tackle and rookie Damien Lewis can transition to center. The issues stem from defense, which saw the vacant spots of Quinton Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin filled by Pierre Desir and Ahkello Witherspoon.

Despite having a league-feared defense for several seasons, the LA Rams have consistently failed to put up points. Last season, they scored the least in the division at 372. This predominantly came down to the plateauing of Jared Goff in Sean McVay’s system. Now, they have Matt Stafford under center, who’s made several questionable decisions in the past, but is a notoriously high-volume passer overall.

The Cardinals have continued their rebuild and are expected to get even more out of this season, provided that Kyler Murray doesn’t break again. The defense will receive a boost from returning and new faces, which includes Chandler Jones and JJ Watt, as well as a tremendous amount of competition in the air. So, anticipating another step forward, Arizona looks primed for a winning record this season.

Last season, the San Francisco 49ers didn’t do anything wrong at all; they were just obliterated by a significant bout of injuries. Essentially, if they were a star performer, they went down with a multi-week or even a season-ending injury. Now, there’s competition at the QB spot, an electric receiving corps, the best tight end in the league, and a fearsome healthy defense.

While Seattle has one of the most powerful running backs in the league and some of the best QBs around, the offensive line is what makes them stand out against the rest. The Rams, 49ers, and Cardinals each have O-lines that can easily be ranked in the top ten, while Seattle’s is at the low-end of middling. On the other side of the trenches, each NFC West foe has an abundance of talent, while Seattle’s is middling at best.

As discussed, Wilson can and will win Seattle numerous games this season, but the competition has certainly been turned up in the NFC West.