SB Nation’s FanPulse, the creation of our very own Kenneth Arthur, has been rebranded to SB Nation Reacts. It’s essentially the same thing but with a different name, but the format currently in use should allow for a wider variety of polling questions to be asked.
With the NFL schedule released just last week, optimism is usually high for most fanbases. Four months away (maybe) from the start of the regular season and you’re just counting off wins and losses even though you know there will be injury variables, weather problems, suspensions, and just plain ol’ randomness that will make your May predictions look stupid.
Let’s start off with ourselves. The Seattle Seahawks went 11-5 last year after a 10-2 start, and have never had a losing record under Russell Wilson. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the respondents see the team finishing with double-digit wins, although I bet it’s more on the 11-win side of the 11-13 win grouping.
If you think we’re optimistic, then the same applies to the rest of the NFC West. Is this the best division in football? I think you can argue as such. Last season saw three teams finish above .500, and had the 14-team playoff format existed in 2019 the Los Angeles Rams would’ve qualified.
The defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers were the top seed in 2019, and all but a handful of their respondents predicted fewer than 11 wins. I suppose there are a few who think that the Super Bowl loser’s curse is coming for them.
For the Los Angeles Rams, they were 9-7 and clearly not as good as they were when they won the NFC in 2018. They’ve lost several players in free agency and are in salary cap hell. That’s not stopping them from predicting another winning year under Sean McVay.
And lastly, the Arizona Cardinals were 5-10-1 in Kliff Kingsbury’s debut as an NFL head coach, but they showed promise thanks to a revamped running game and an Offensive Rookie of the Year season for Kyler Murray. With DeAndre Hopkins added to the fold on offense and Isaiah Simmons joining the defense, there has been talk of Arizona being a sneaky wild card contender. Cards fans are drinking that Kool-Aid.
I believe in theory it’s possible for every team in a division to have a winning record, but I don’t think it’s ever actually happened. In other words, at least one of these teams is going to see that May cheeriness turn into dread by midseason.