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NFC West projected as league’s least competitive division in 2023

Are the Rams trying to compete in a non-competitive division?

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Three weeks away from the NFL Draft, expectations are the lowest they’ve ever been for the Los Angeles Rams in the Sean McVay era. After the lack of moves they’ve made in free agency and all the cap space created through cuts and trades, it’s reasonable not to have any hope for them this upcoming campaign.

Their division is seemingly following suit after the NFC West was named the NFL’s least competitive heading into the 2023 season. According to Tyler Greenawalt of Yahoo Sports, this was his reasoning:

“All told, the San Francisco 49ers are far and away the best team of their division relative to the rest of the NFL. Even though the 49ers’ quarterback situation is a bit unsettled, the 49ers (-155 to win the NFC West) still boast the best collection of skill position players and the defense is still elite.

The rest of the division remains uncertain. The Seahawks returned most of their core but aren’t locks to return to the postseason. The Los Angeles Rams are a shell of their 2021 championship version and the Arizona Cardinals, who drag the average odds to win the division way down at +2200, might be the worst team in the league heading into the 2023 season.”

Greenawalt took each team’s odds of winning their own division into account along with their projected win totals before compiling the data together. I have a serious issue with these rankings, especially considering the NFC West should not be at the bottom. Not even close compared to other weaklings across the league. Seriously, how on earth is this division deemed less competitive than the AFC South and the NFC South?

I believe this guy really forgot the AFC South still exists. They’re easily the top least competitive division in my mind. The only squad I could see making it from that trash heap is the Jaguars. All the other teams have legitimate questions at quarterback. Unless someone winds up challenging the reigning division champs, the Jaguars will repeat and finish with the only winning record in the division.

Last season, the NFC South sent a losing team to the playoffs for the second time since 2014. Even with the Saints adding Derek Carr, there’s not a clear-cut favorite at this point in the offseason. Carolina holds the top pick in the draft, Atlanta is just whatever and the Bucs are moving forward in a post-Tom Brady world.

The 49ers won the West with ease in ‘22 and Seattle surpassed all projections and joined them in the playoffs. Somehow this division is the least competitive as a result? San Francisco is the betting favorite to win the conference so the division should be a cakewalk for them once more. This is happening despite the uncertainty under center. Who will win their game of musical QB chairs? Will it be Brock Purdy? Trey Lance? Sam Darnold? Does it really matter? Their defense will keep them in most games. Curse those blasted Niners!

As for the Seahawks, they survived the Russell Wilson trade and have their future set up for the long haul. They’re going to be quite dangerous very soon and they have Mr. Dangeruss to thank.

Perhaps this division is being weighed down by the Arizona Cardinals. Go figure. This team can’t figure out how to be competent for one second. These dopes can’t even cheat correctly for goodness sakes! I would feel bad for Kyler but he’s signed onto this mess for the next five years. Bummer dude.

LA probably won’t be great next year but I still expect them to be reasonably competitive. McVay would never let his team go down without a fight. That much was evident during the injury-riddled mess of a repeat bid last season. The NFC West will be a dogfight like it’s always been and I don’t expect them to become soft now. Least competitive division my foot.