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NFL 2022: 49ers the chief pretenders to Rams’ NFC West throne

As the LA Rams look to repeat their NFC West and Super Bowl titles in 2022, the San Francisco 49ers appear to be their main obstacle towards retaining their division crown.

Estados Unidos
McVay ha sido el head coach de los Rams desde la temporada 2017 y desde entonces tiene marca de 55-26 en temporada regular y de 7-3 en postemporada.
Scott TaetschAFP

In 2021, the Los Angelses Rams took advantage of the fact that Arizona Cardinals faded in the final stretch of the regular season (2-4 in their last seven games) to secure the 14th NFC West crown in their history - before going on to win the Super Bowl. Ahead of the 2022 campaign, the Rams are shaping up as favourites to win the division title once more, but the San Francisco 49ers and the Cardinals are out to avoid it.

Rams keep Super Bowl-winning team together

Sean McVay managed to retain 80% of the Rams’ Super Bowl LVI starters and, although he lost Von Miller, he convinced Aaron Donald not to retire with a three-year deal worth $95 million.

The Rams roster, which also features Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford, is seen by the bookmakers as one of the heavy favourites to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers have a better chance of reaching the Super Bowl, according to the betting.

San Francisco best placed to take Rams’ NFC West crown

The organisation most likely to stop Los Angeles is the 49ers. After the failed experiment with Jimmy Garoppolo, Kyle Shanahan will hand over the offensive reins of the ‘Niners’ to Trey Lance, recruited in the first round of the 2021 Draft. The main problem with this handover is that Garoppolo is to remain in San Francisco and his presence could complicate things inside the dressing room.

North Dakota State product Lance now has the responsibility of commanding an offence that boasts Deebo Samuel and George Kittle as its best weapons. In 2021, the 49ers finished with the league’s seventh-best rushing total, with 6,387 yards.

Doubts over Cardinals heading into 2022

In 2021, the Cardinals led the NFC West for 12 games (9-2), but for the second consecutive season Kliff Kingsbury could not keep Arizona afloat, and they missed out on the divisional crown.

For the campaign that begins this Thursday, the Phoenix franchise seems to be one step below and they will be without DeAndre Hopkins in the first six games of the regular season due to a suspension. However, the franchise will no longer have to worry about the fate of Kyler Murray, who has signed a five-year, $230.5 million extension.

Seahawks favourites to bring up rear

The Seattle Seahawks seem destined for the bottom of the division. Pete Carroll brought the Russell Wilson era to an abrupt end - the quarterback is now with the Denver Broncos - and Seattle appear to be nearing a rebuilding process.

In 2022, Geno Smith and Drew Lock will battle it out for the Seahawks’ starting quarterback spot. It was previously speculated that Garoppolo was in Carroll’s sights; however, San Francisco weren’t comfortable with the possibility of their QB ending up with a division rival.

Predicted final standings in NFC West

San Francisco 49ers107
Los Angeles Rams98
Arizona Cardinals98
Seattle Seahawks611