Los Angeles Rams: Biggest challenger in the NFC West for 2019?

After their devasting loss in Super Bowl LIII, the Los Angeles Rams look to put the past behind them but who in their division will pose the biggest threat?

It felt like the entire world was cheering for the Los Angeles Rams to get a win over the New England Patriots. While not a high-scoring game in any respect, the Rams only managed to put up three points and helped New England secure their sixth Super Bowl title.

Despite that, the Rams have made moves to stay in the mix as one of the best teams in the leagues and certainly in their division. Of all the teams in the NFC West, they seem most likely to repeat as division champions and head to the playoffs again. That’s not to say that the rest of the NFC West is bad, because each of the teams has a chance.

In some divisions, there’s a clear winner, but the NFC West picture can get a bit muddled. Of their three division rivals, which team poses the biggest threat to the Rams being back-to-back NFC West champs?

As in most divisions, there is one team who is clearly at the bottom and in the NFC West, it’s the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals are currently in a transitional period as they drafted Kyler Murray to be their franchise quarterback. Right now, it’s unclear how well he’s going to do in the NFL and the Cardinals are taking a gamble. Despite having a few solid guys on offense, including Larry Fitzgerald, the team isn’t anywhere near the Rams.

Coupled with them losing some major players on defense, the Cardinals aren’t going to be challenging the Rams anytime soon. Rather, they’re hoping to beat their 3-13 record from last season.

The San Francisco 49ers have an edge that the Cardinals don’t because they’re on the upswing. The team looks to get their franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo back, despite his poor showing in his preseason return. Additionally, the team acquired some pieces to aid him in Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd, Jordan Matthews and Tevin Coleman.

Where the 49ers really shine is on a revamped defense which bolsters some big names including Richard Sherman, Nick Bosa and DeForest Buckner, in addition to newcomer Dee Ford. What the team lacks on offense, they make up for on defense. If anyone’s going to get them out of a jam, it’s the defense and that should scare some teams.

Will they put up a winning record like the Rams? Probably not, but their defense is among the top tier in the league.

Of course, that only leaves one team and, big surprise, it’s the Seattle Seahawks. Similar to the Rams, the Seahawks also made the playoffs in 2018. They were knocked out in the first round, but the team managed to put up a 10-6 record, cementing them as good but not great. With Russell Wilson under contract, the team hopes to repeat the same success they had last year.

However, not everything is working in the Seahawks favor as three of their draft picks are injured, their defense has played poorly and they’ve lost some major stars on offense. Despite those issues, the Seahawks pose the biggest challenge to the Rams.

Next: NFL Power Rankings: Luck retires, shakes up league

They might not be nearly as good as last season, but they have it together better than the 49ers and Cardinals. Unsurprisingly, it looks like the Los Angeles Rams are going to be back-to-back NFC West champs in 2019.