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Gold Standard: Will the weird NFC West cycle continue this season?

Or are the 49ers good enough to break the wheel

The hot takes and cold truth about the 49ers

There is little argument that the NFC West is the most competitive division in the NFL. The Seahawks, Rams, and 49ers all field extremely talented rosters, and each team has won a division title in the last four years.

Since Kyle Shanahan arrived in San Francisco, a weird trend has emerged between his team, the Seahawks and the Rams. In today’s Gold Standard Podcast, Levin Black and I wondered if it would continue.

In the last four years, the NFC West can largely be summed up by the following sentence. The 49ers beat the Rams, the Rams beat the Seahawks, and the Seahawks beat the 49ers. The trend has held no matter the obstacles. The 49ers have had a ton of injuries yet can still handle LA. The Rams have had the vastly inferior quarterback yet still beat Seattle, and the Seahawks' shaky defense hasn’t usually hurt them against San Francisco. Since 2017, the 49ers are 5-3 against the Rams, the Rams are 5-3 against the Seahawks, and the Seahawks are 6-2 against the 49ers.

Going into 2021, will that trend continue? I asked Levin on today’s show, and he didn’t think it would.

“I think this is the year that the Seahawks are finally shown for what pretty much everybody has said they are - including Russell Wilson,” he said, “They are a team devoid of talent, outside of Russell Wilson and few receivers. That’s why Wilson has been screaming to high heaven lately to get better talent around him. That’s why I think the Seahawks are likely to finish in last.”

That was a branch that I wasn’t willing to go out on myself, but there are some red flags for the Seahawks. First, they allowed more yards than they gained last season. Second, eight of their 12 wins last year came in one-possession games. While some of that can be attributed to Russell Wilson, even the greatest QBs have trouble sustaining that kind of success year to year. Sometimes fumbles bounce the other way. Officials throw or don’t throw flags. Kickers miss field goals.

Even the best players can’t account for chance.

What do you think? Will the odd cycle of violence persist in the NFC West, or have things been shaken up enough this offseason to break the wheel?

Other topics in today’s show

  • What should we expect this week against the Lions?
  • How good can the ground game be with Trey Lance and Raheem Mostert at the mesh point?
  • Is there extra pressure on Jalen Hurd when/if he finally comes back due to how long we’ve waited?