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NFL Draft

Record Predictions: Who Will Win NFC West?

  • The Draft Network
  • May 13, 2021
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The NFC West was the most competitive division in the NFL last season and that shouldn’t be a surprise. All four teams have at least one division title since 2015. The Seattle Seahawks are the most recent team to don the crown following a 12-4 campaign.

The Seahawks’ success is in large part due to quarterback Russell Wilson and what he’s able to manufacture out of thin air. There hasn’t been a quarterback in the NFC West to rival him, sans Arizona Cardinals’ Kyler Murray; although Murray hasn’t yet developed into a passer (nor has the offensive infrastructure) to rival Wilson. The offseason movement should continue the competitive trend across the league and even more so in the division itself. The blockbuster trade the Los Angeles Rams made for quarterback Matthew Stafford, the influx of talent in Arizona, and the looming quarterback carousel in San Francisco will give us plenty to follow among these West Coast powerhouses. 

Let’s dive into the 2021 schedules for each of the four teams in the NFC West.


Week 1: @ Colts (W)

Week 2: vs. Titans (W)

Week 3: @ Vikings (W)

Week 4: @ 49ers (L)

Week 5: vs. Rams (W)

Week 6: @ Steelers (W)

Week 7: vs. Saints (L)

Week 8: vs. Jaguars (L)

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: @ Packers (L)

Week 11: vs. Cardinals (W)

Week 12: @ Washington Football Team (W)

Week 13: vs. 49ers (W)

Week 14: @ Texans (W)

Week 15: @ Rams (L)

Week 16: vs. Bears (W)

Week 17: vs. Lions (W)

Week 18: @ Cardinals (W)

Record Prediction: 12-5

The Seahawks are a difficult team to predict due to the uncertainty that seemingly always faces the offense until the second half—or more specifically the fourth quarter—of games. Wilson has added to the now vocalized tension in Seattle. Onlookers often criticize the Seahawks’ historically putrid offensive line; this offseason, Wilson finally did the same. He practically begged for better protection and a bigger role in head coach Pete Carroll’s offense. Carroll enlisted former Rams passing game coordinator Shane Waldron as offensive coordinator and has since used polished coach-speak to try and mitigate Wilson’s comments and his own responsibility to the future Hall of Fame passer. 

Offensive dysfunction isn’t the only thing plaguing Seattle. The Seahawks have been extremely hot and cold on defense; they’ve been a far cry from the Legion of Boom that ushered them to consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the mid-2010s. How is Seattle still relevant, still winning, and still a championship contender despite all of this? The answer, again, is Wilson. The Seahawks will go as far as Wilson can carry them. It would be beneficial for all parties to lighten his load with a solidified offensive line, added reliable skill players, and field a more consistent defense. If Seattle can accomplish some, if not all, of those things, it’ll keep the divisional crown.


Week 1: vs. Bears (L)

Week 2: @ Colts (L)

Week 3: vs. Buccaneers (L)

Week 4: vs. Cardinals (W)

Week 5: @ Seahawks (L)

Week 6: @ Giants (W)

Week 7: vs. Lions (W)

Week 8: @ Texans (W)

Week 9: vs. Titans (W)

Week 10: @ 49ers (L)

Week 11: BYE

Week 12: @ Packers (L)

Week 13: vs. Jaguars (W)

Week 14: @ Cardinals (W)

Week 15: vs. Seahawks (W)

Week 16: @ Vikings (W)

Week 17: @ Ravens (L)

Week 18: vs. 49ers (W)

Record Prediction: 10-7

The Rams’ situation under center will keep their season interesting; Stafford’s fit into head coach Sean McVay’s system will be the talk of the division heading into 2021. The Rams aren’t far removed from their own Super Bowl appearance in 2018 and still have a top defensive unit to now match the additional talent on offense.

Los Angeles has some marquee matchups, hosting first-overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars, Stafford’s former team, the Detroit Lions, and rookie quarterback Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football in Week 1. These will make for exciting games and a chance for McVay to show off his offensive mind with a better passer and more options out of the backfield.


Week 1: @ Titans (W)

Week 2: vs. Vikings (W)

Week 3: @ Jaguars (L)

Week 4: @ Rams (L)

Week 5: vs. 49ers (W)

Week 6: @ Browns (L)

Week 7: vs. Texans (L)

Week 8: vs. Packers (L)

Week 9: @ 49ers (W)

Week 10: vs. Panthers (W)

Week 11: @ Seahawks (L)

Week 12: BYE

Week 13: @ Bears (W)

Week 14: vs. Rams (L)

Week 15: @ Lions (W)

Week 16: vs. Colts (W)

Week 17: @ Cowboys (L)

Week 18: vs. Seahawks (L)

Record Prediction: 8-9

The Cardinals are an enigma whose success and failures are messily intertwined. Murray and head coach Kliff Kingsbury seemingly had things figured out early last season, and Murray saw the fruits of that. He was in early NFL MVP talks and had good odds to win until Arizona’s season fell apart after its bye week.

The Cardinals have most of the makings to be a true contender in the division and across the league. However, they seem to, too frequently, come up short. Now, with the addition of J.J. Watt on defense and another season with All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins as the most reliable pass-catcher there is for Murray on the other side of the ball, Arizona could see the fruits of consecutive franchise-altering offseason additions.


Week 1: @ Lions (W)

Week 2: @ Eagles (W)

Week 3: vs. Packers (L)

Week 4: vs. Seahawks (W)

Week 5: @ Cardinals (L)

Week 6: BYE

Week 7: vs. Colts (L)

Week 8: @ Bears (L)

Week 9: vs. Cardinals (L)

Week 10: vs. Rams (W)

Week 11: @ Jaguars (L)

Week 12: vs. Vikings (W)

Week 13: @ Seahawks (L)

Week 14: @ Bengals (W)

Week 15: vs. Falcons (L)

Week 16: @ Titans (L)

Week 17: vs. Texans (L)

Week 18: @ Rams (L)

Record Prediction: 6-11

The 49ers’ fall from grace was cringeworthy. As quickly as they ascended to Super Bowl heights in 2019 following one of the worst seasons in the NFL, they once again fell to the bottom of the NFC West in 2020. 

Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to be the starting quarterback; but with Trey Lance in the QB room, San Francisco could begin to see a resurgence and sustained success as Garoppolo has failed to execute in must-win moments. The 49ers’ inconsistency throughout the regular season and in the postseason could haunt them, especially with a rookie passer finding their footing at some point during the 2021 season. The good news for the 49ers is the star power they have up front on defense and the offensive mind of head coach Kyle Shanahan. It might be another low-win season for San Francisco, but there’s plenty to look forward to in the future.

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