If there’s one upside to Summer being over it would be that is signals the beginning of both the college and pro football seasons. Every year there are plenty of moving parts as the NFL has a draft, free agency, and trades. College has players lost to the draft, graduation, and incoming transfers. So, what we want to do is get you up to date on how the rosters shape up for opening day, stats, rosters, and of course playoff predictions. We’ll start with the NFL and provide updates each day heading into opening day kickoff.
Let’s kick things off in the NFC with the West as it’s the home of the defending NFC Champs. The Rams are coming off a 13-3 season and are stacked again this year particularly at running back where they appear to have reloaded. Third-round pick Darrell Henderson should immediately contribute and take some of the load off Todd Gurley whom should get a much lighter load and be in better shape come second season. Jared Geoff is back at the helm, better, a year wiser, and with that irreplaceable asset of Super Bowl experience. The wide receiving core of Cooks, Woods, and Cupp is top-5 in the league and the Aaron Donald (20.5 sacks in 18’) lead defense will be formidable again, even without Suh as the third-year safety John Johnson should be huge in run support as well as shutting things down at the corner position. A tougher schedule than last year leaves us thinking the Rams will finish a game behind last season’s pace at 12-4.
We stay in the Golden State and move up North to look at the San Francisco 49’ers. Third-year coach and offensive guru Kyle Shanahan will be put to the test this year as the shelf life of job protection under the “team is rebuilding” clause is running out. After finishing last in the NFC West in 3 of the last 4 seasons it’s time for the Niner’s to put up or officially be abled ‘worst in the NFC’. Making matters worse, the year they didn’t finish in last over that four-year span, was in 2014, when the Rams finished behind them at 6-10, needless to say the franchises went in two different directions.
Offensively, the Niner’s can score and will be in most games. No one doubts the potency of QB Jimmy Garoppolo as long as he has targets. Now that Gronk has retired for the Patriots (unless until the playoffs) Jimmy to George Kittle is the best QB/TE combo in the league. Former Falcon Tevin Coleman should provide some solid run support, but Marquise Goodwin and former Jag Jalen Hurd are going to have to come up big.
Defensively Nick Bosa will lead anchor the D which we think will be better than expected, but the 800-pound question mark in the room is how effective will Richard Sherman be as a lock-down corner. There will be lots of new faces but mostly when you get to the bench. Both sides of the ball for the 49’ers are ranked on the bottom half of the league by most prognosticators but we’re going to go the other way, thinking their among the better teams but a though division will make the surf a little more rough for the guys from NoCal.
Next up………. Seattle Seahawks