The Week 15 matchup is all the exposure (outside of the playoffs) that the Green Bay Packers will have to the NFC West division, hosting the Los Angeles Rams for Monday Night Football. But with this division looking quite different than last season, what can be expected from every team this year?
2021 Record – 11-6
Of the four teams in the West, the Arizona Cardinals likely will experience the least amount of turnover for their major players, a sign of potentially being able to repeat their 11-win season. Kyler Murray did lose DeAndre Hopkins for the first six games of the year due to a substance violation, but having acquired Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown from the Ravens will help offset that loss.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury still hasn’t been able to live up to his high billing when he joined Arizona, but after a super successful season that saw the Cardinals lose their first game of the year, at home, to the Packers in the Rasul Douglas game, they look to repeat that same kind of success this season.
Still facing an uphill battle to win the division, Murray will have to take on even more this year if the team hopes to cover up some of their defensive weaknesses with offensive firepower.
Los Angeles Rams
2021 Record – 12-5
The Rams are the defending champions, having won their well-fought battle against the Cincinnati Bengals. Matthew Stafford earned his first ring and all is right in the world – right?
Look, the Rams don’t seem to quite care about draft picks or maintaining a clean salary sheet, two items that typically are necessary to run a well-rounded franchise. But throwing caution to the win and pushing every single chip into the middle of the table got the Rams here, and they will try to replicate that success in 2022.
Gone are Robert Woods, Odell Beckham Jr. (likely), and Von Miller – in their place are Allen Robinson, Bobby Wagner, and an extended Cooper Kupp. While losing Woods likely will be the biggest departure of the three, plugging Robinson into that spot will make for an unfair and seamless transition.
That Week 15 matchup very well may dictate important playoff seeding, so it only makes sense that this is in a primetime slot. The Rams will be a big-time foe for the Packers to test their playoff mettle against, something that this team desperately needs.
San Francisco 49ers
2021 Record – 10-7
Even after taking them to 10 wins on the season and a playoff berth, the San Francisco 49ers are going to be moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo as their starting QB. With Trey Lance being given every shot to become the starter, this Niners team is going to look far different this year.
Contractual issues made it seem like Deebo Samuel would be shipped out this offseason, but with things looking like they have settled down, for now, he will operate as the team’s top WR yet again. Reports of him taking a step completely out of backfield work likely means Lance will be looked to for some dedicated rushing attempts, opening up Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
Defensively, not many elements have changed but this unit still can and does look the part. Led by Fred Warner in the middle, they tend to fly under the radar most weeks but certainly are one of the stronger units across the league.
2021 Record – 7-10
The final team in this NFC West recap likely will be the worst in the division yet again. With Russell Wilson out the door and a full-on rebuild underway, the Seattle Seahawks have a lot of key decisions coming up for the future of their team.
DK Metcalf is wanting a new deal, Drew Lock and Geno Smith are fighting to be QB1, and Seattle just used a high draft pick on Kenneth Walker, adding another option to compete with Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson – all of these elements mean that their offense will be a struggle each and every week.
Defensively, they just saw Wagner bolt to a divisional rival, and with Jamal Adams having struggled in 2021, they are easily going to be in the top-5 worst teams in the NFL this upcoming season, it’s just a shame that the Packers don’t play them.
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23