Week 2 NFC West Power Rankings

Los Angeles Rams Vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Photo Credit: Ryan Dyrud | The LAFB Network
Los Angeles Rams Vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Photo Credit: Ryan Dyrud | The LAFB Network

After two games, the NFC West is shaping up to be a very interesting division. With a similarly talented yet highly skilled makeup, this division race could be competitive through the end of the season as all of these teams are playoff contenders. However, the rankings below are based on who is the best as of right now. This ranking also takes into account who they have played and how well they’ve played them in addition to how the future looks.

Week 3 NFC West Power Rankings

1. Seattle Seahawks (2-0)

It cannot be denied: Quarterback Russell Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and now he has wide receiver D.K. Metcalf looking explosive in his second season. He also has Tyler Lockett on the other side and an upgraded tight end in Greg Olsen as well as a decent one-two punch in the run game with Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde. The offense should continue to put up points all season long.

Also, the defense has good pieces in K.J. Wright, Jamal Adams, and Bobby Wagner. Basically, the 12s can win with their offense or defense. Thus far, the Seahawks have already beat the Falcons comfortably and controlled the Patriots game for most of the second half with two Super Bowl featured MVP quarterbacks on the opposing side.

2. Los Angeles Rams (2-0)

Quarterback Jared Goff has shown that he can win if he does not have to do too much on his own. The Rams still have many good pieces with wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, tight end Tyler Higbee, running backs Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers with cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and defensive tackle Aaron Donald suiting up on Sundays.

That being said, the Rams have yet to prove that they can beat an established, formidable team. They beat a Dallas Cowboys team that beat themselves with an ill-timed decision late in the game to try to convert a 4th down. After that, they beat a Philadelphia Eagles team that has taken a big step back from a few years ago and seems to be on a downward trajectory overall. If the Rams want to become the undisputedly best team in the division, they need to beat one of the tougher teams in the league. The upcoming game against the Bills might qualify as they’re rolling after beating the New York Jets comfortably and surviving a “Fitzmagic” performance in Miami.

3. Arizona Cardinals (2-0)

It has been quite a few years since the Carson Palmer era but it seems that Arizona football is back to being competitive. 2019 Rookie-of-the-Year winner Kyler Murray has the potential to lead this offense back to prominence with the acquisition of DeAndre Hopkins in addition to the return of the seemingly ageless Larry Fitzgerald. Overall, the Cardinals have a quarterback, two solid wide receivers, a decent running back in Kenyan Drake, and cornerback Patrick Peterson on the opposite side of the ball with outside linebacker Chandler Jones rushing the quarterback. Also, they have an interesting offensive play-caller in Kliff Kingsbury. Seemingly overnight, this team suddenly has quite a bit of talent and intrigue. 

Looking at the 2020 track record, the Cardinals were able to beat the 49ers with Garoppolo healthy and they also defeated the Washington Football Team by 15 points. Looking ahead, the schedule for the Cardinals is relatively soft until almost November with them facing the Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, and Dallas Cowboys over the next four games. In fact, they could be 6-0 or 5-1 after that stretch.

However, the rest of the season is brutally difficult with the Cardinals facing the Seahawks and Rams twice, the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots, and the Philadelphia Eagles who have been nearly invincible in December over the last couple of seasons (losing only two of the last twelve games played in that month over the last three seasons). Suffice it to say that the Cardinals will likely come back to earth as seven of their last 10 games are relatively difficult. However, with seven playoff spots up for grabs this season, they could still find a way to slip into the playoffs.

4. San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

Backup Nick Mullens is the worst quarterback on this list but the starter, Jimmy Garoppolo, is only week-to-week with a high-right ankle sprain. However, even though this team is in 4th place in the division, it could be the best 4th-best team in years if not decades. Mullens is 5-5 as a starter and can still do damage with Head Coach Kyle Shanahan calling the plays.

Already, he has helped blowout the New York Jets in Week Two. That being said, they’ll need perfection to keep pace with the division after losing to the Cardinals. Even with Garoppolo out, the 49ers would have likely been ranked higher than Arizona if they were able to beat them in Week One. Unfortunately for the 49ers, if they were in any other division this year, they would probably be ranked in the top two.

Where Do The Rams Fit In The NFC West?

Even though the teams of the NFC West are ranked one through four, there is a greater distance between some teams than is implied by being just one spot behind. The Seahawks are a tier above everyone else, all alone. The next tier houses the Rams, Cardinals, and would have a healthy 49ers team as well. Tier three currently houses the unhealthy 49ers. That being said, that is not to say the Rams and Cardinals are basically equal. Rather, the Rams are still above the Cardinals but are a ways from the level of the Seahawks.

To further explain the discrepancy between the Rams and Seahawks, as the season goes on, Russell Wilson tends to get better, not worse. Meanwhile, the Rams under Sean McVay have gotten better as the season went on like in 2019. On the other hand, they have gotten worse as the season went on like in 2018. For those that wonder how it could be said that the Rams got worse in a season that led to a Super Bowl appearance, it should be mentioned that the Rams were objectively more mortal at the end of the season than at the start in terms of wins (8-0 vs 5-3 in the first eight games versus the last eight). Overall, the Rams are a coin toss as to whether they’ll get better or worse as the year closes. Since the Seahawks and Rams are currently tied at 2-0, this difference will decide the fate of the two teams. Since the Seahawks have the edge down the stretch, they take the position as the top-rated team in the NFC West.

Regardless, with seven playoff spots open this season, there is a chance that every team in the NFC West makes the playoffs. If the Seahawks win the division then the Rams, Cardinals, and 49ers could all still make it as wild card teams. Overall, this could be the first time that an entire division makes the playoffs in the history of the NFL.