Last season, the NFC West never was anything other than a two-team race, with the 49ers and Seattle Seahawks clearly being the class of the division.
Although the Los Angeles Rams represented the NFC in the Super Bowl after the 2018 season, coach Sean McVay’s group somewhat fell back to earth in 2019, going 9-7 but failing to earn a playoff spot. The Arizona Cardinals, fresh off posting the league’s worst record in 2018, made strides but managed to win just five games with No. 1 overall draft pick Kyler Murray at the helm of the offense.
ESPN’s Louis Riddick sees the division being one of the NFL’s most competitive in 2020, but he delivered a bold prediction that has arguably the most consistent of the four teams missing out on the expanded playoff field.
“The Seattle Seahawks, although Russell Wilson is one of my very favorite people in the NFL, I think they’re going to miss the playoffs,” Riddick said during “Get Up” on Thursday morning. “They’re in a division and they’re in a conference that is very, very strong, and I don’t know if necessarily Russell can continue to just carry the load like he always has, and continue to be the guy that can put them over the hump, and I think it’s going to wind up being the Rams that wind up sneaking in there to the playoffs, because I like what Sean McVay has done there.”
Bold predictions are meant to stir up controversy, and Riddick’s sentiment here certainly did that among Seahawks fans.
Seattle did add All-Pro safety Jamal Adams in an offseason trade, but the team parted ways with two first-round picks and a third-round selection, in addition to Bradley McDougald, in order to acquire him. The Seahawks also lost star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in free agency, as he opted to sign with the Tennessee Titans.
It was a quiet offseason otherwise for the Seahawks, who came within an inch of winning the NFC West in 2019. And after adding All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins this offseason, the Cardinals look primed for improvement, as Murray enters Year 2 under center.
If Wilson's offensive line continues to struggle as it has in recent years, the Seahawks will have major difficulty beating the Rams and 49ers, each of whom feature suffocating pass rushes.
We'll see just how hot of a take this is from Riddick when Seattle opens up the season in Atlanta against the Falcons on Sunday, but there's no question the NFC West will be among the league's most competitive divisions.