It’s that time of year where analysts choose who will win the division. A year ago at this time, the hope for the San Francisco 49ers was to, at best, sneak into the playoffs at 9-7 as a wildcard. As we know, 2019 went a lot better than expected. Was that a fluke? Bleacher Report seems to believe so.
Five analysts picked who they believe would win the NFC West, and three picked the Seattle Seahawks. As of earlier this week, the Niners were +110 to win the division. Those are great odds and something that I’d bet on. Seattle’s odds are +225. There is a significant gap between the two, as there should be. The Seahawks are still the Seahawks, though, and as long as No. 3 is on their roster, expect Seattle to be a pain in San Francisco’s side.
The Seattle Seahawks actually came close to capturing the division last year. Despite a so-so pass-defense, one of the NFL’s weakest pass-rushes and a litany of injuries, they almost pulled off a Week 17 upset over the 49ers that would have given them the division title.
Seattle’s defense got a sizable boost in recent days with the trade that brought All-Pro safety Jamal Adams to the Emerald City. But its hopes in 2020 rest where they have since 2012: with quarterback Russell Wilson.
“If Wilson was playing in Kansas City, people would be calling him the best quarterback in the NFL, and if Mahomes was in Seattle, they would be saying, ‘God, this guy is really good, but you wish they would give him a chance early in games,’” the coordinator said.
Having an MVP-caliber quarterback could be more important than ever this year.
And while Jimmy Garoppolo and Jared Goff are good and Kyler Murray is ascending, Wilson is the gold standard under center in the NFC West.
Before acquiring Jamal Adams, Seattle had the best player, but the 49ers probably had the next five or so players. Adams helped bridge the gap, but there is this thing called blocking and rushing the passer. One team has gotten better at both, while the other has gotten worse.
I don’t think people underestimate Wilson, who was the No. 2 player in the NFL Top 100. Everyone knows he’s a special player, and the lone reason Seattle is in the position they are yearly.
The Seahawks almost won the division like the 49ers almost won the Super Bowl. It doesn’t work like that. You can’t use “ifs” in football just as people use “interceptable passes” or “almost” stats. What I’ve come to learn is that everything balances out.
What each analyst ignored is the adversity the Niners overcame last year. Injury luck is real in the NFL, and those teams that avoided the injury bug in the regular season tend to go on deep playoff runs. San Francisco did that, despite being banged up at some of the most critical positions. Being battle-tested should help this team that is still young, and you know they’ll be hungry with how the season ended.
How much of a chance do you give the Seahawks to win the division this year?