The NFC West is definitely on the rise and has become one of the league’s best and most dominant divisions. Led by the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks, the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams often get overlooked. And rightfully so, as both of those teams combined for just 12 wins last season, while the 49ers and Seahawks both won 11 games a piece.
The San Francisco 49ers are coming off of a disappointing but accomplished season, as they went all the way to the Super Bowl, but fell just short as they lost to the Baltimore Ravens 34-31 in heartbreaking fashion.
The Arizona Cardinals? Well, they finished the 2012-2013 season with a miserable 5-11 record that was good for last place in their division. Kevin Kolb and John Skelton are both gone from the team, and Carson Palmer is now the man in charge. But is that a good thing?
Palmer, who threw for 4,018 yards and 22 touchdowns last season, is simply not the answer to a struggling Cardinals squad. The soon-to-be 34-year-old quarterback is washed up now and far past his prime. To be honest, I can only see him succeeding as a backup quarterback rather than leading an offense himself, and that is what it seemed like Palmer wanted anyways.
But now, he will be working with wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd and new head coach Bruce Arians to try and rebuild a miserable NFL franchise.
The 49ers, meanwhile, are still looking better than ever. They still have their young and explosive playmaking quarterback in Colin Kaepernick, and his offensive targets just keep getting better and better. Michael Crabtree is really coming together as a wide receiver and Vernon Davis is developing into one of Kaepernick’s favorite targets. Aside from those two, the 49ers also acquired former Cardinals and Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
Boldin, who helped the Ravens beat the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII just a few months ago, will join Jim Harbaugh and his extravagant NFL squad in pursuit of another Super Bowl win.
The 49ers defense is still very stacked, as Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, and NaVarro Bowman are all still on the squad and looking as sharp as they have ever been. And don’t forget that they also added Nnamdi Asomugha to the team; fans should expect very big things from him.
Sure, All-Pro safety Dashon Goldson took his talents to South Beach to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but with 14 picks in the upcoming 2013 NFL Draft, the 49ers will have plenty of opportunities to find his replacement.
The 49ers will be seeing a lot of the Arizona Cardinals, but they should have nothing to worry about. They still are much more superior and dominant than the Cardinals, and Arizona still has a lot of rebuilding to do in order to reach the 49ers’ level.
Yes, adding Carson Palmer to the roster might have helped out the Cardinals a little bit, especially because they were without a legitimate starting quarterback, but they still are not a threat to anyone in the NFL, let alone their own division rivals.