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The Seahawks look poised to take the NFC West again and make a deeper playoff run in 2017–assuming Russell Wilson avoids nagging injuries, and Seattle’s line provides adequate protection. The Cardinals possess elite talents like David Johnson, Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, but they lack depth. The Rams begin the Sean McVay era. Their new coach needs to coax a better performance out of Todd Gurley, and help Jared Goff develop into a competent QB. Speaking of competent QBs, the 49ers are still searching for one. At least they have Kyle Shanahan, previously Atlanta’s star offensive coordinator, running the ship now.

 

QUARTERBACKS

Carson Palmer (ARI) threw 11 TD passes in the 4th quarter last season (NFL Rank: 3rd among QBs)

Carson Palmer (ARI) threw for 1,385 passing yards against the blitz last season (NFL Rank: 3rd among QBs)

Russell Wilson (SEA) threw only 21 TDs last year–the second-lowest total of his NFL career. Part of the problem was his accuracy when the Seahawks neared the end zone. Wilson threw just 35 catchable balls on 75 pass attempts (46.7%) on plays in the red zone last season (NFL Rank: 32nd of 32 Qualified QBs; League Avg: 63.0%)

Russell Wilson (SEA) was not intercepted (118 pass attempts) in close and late situations last season (NFL Rank: 1st of 35 Qualified QBs; League Avg: 36.7)

Hobbled by lower body injuries in 2016, Russell Wilson (SEA) needs better protection to have better health. Wilson was sacked 41 times last season (NFL Rank: 2nd most among QBs)

49er’s welcome journeyman QB Brian Hoyer, who had a passer rating of 108.6 with over 10 yards to go (28 Pass Attempts) last season (NFL Rank: 2nd best of 35 Qualified QBs; League Avg: 83.2)

Matt Barkley (SF) had a passer rating of just 77.3 when not pressured (181 Pass Attempts) last season (NFL Rank: 31st of 31 Qualified QBs; League Avg: 96.8)

Jared Goff (LA) had a passer rating of just 71.1 in short yardage situations (25 Pass Attempts) last season (NFL Rank: 28th of 31 Qualified QBs; League Avg: 104.4)


RUNNING BACKS

David Johnson (ARI) broke 23 tackles last season (NFL Rank: 2nd among RBs)

David Johnson (ARI) was targeted 118 times when his QB dropped straight back last season (NFL Rank: 1st among RBs)

David Johnson (ARI) led the NFL in total yards from scrimmage (2,118) in 2016, and his soft hands are a major reason why. Johnson had 80 receptions last season (NFL Rank: 1st among RBs)

Todd Gurley (LA) had 11 receptions on plays starting from inside his own 20 yard line last season (NFL Rank: 1st among RBs)

Todd Gurley (LA) went from being the Offensive Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowler in 2015 to averaging just 3.2 yards per carry in 2016. With the game on the line, Gurley struggled even more. He averaged just 2.4 Yards per Carry (113 yards/48 carries) in close and late situations last season (NFL Rank: 29th of 31 Qualified RBs; League Avg: 3.9)

Carlos Hyde (SF) averaged 5.5 Yards per Carry (625 yards/113 carries) on 1st down last season (NFL Rank: 2nd of 43 Qualified RBs; League Avg: 4.2)

Carlos Hyde (SF) rushed for 653 yards on plays out of the shotgun last season (NFL Rank: 1st among RBs)

 

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) had 26 receptions on slant routes last season (NFL Rank: 1st among WRs)

Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) had 26 receptions in close and late situations last season (NFL Rank: 2nd among WRs)

Tavon Austin (LA) broke 7 tackles last season (NFL Rank: 6th among WRs)

Doug Baldwin (SEA) caught 6 touchdown receptions on plays in the red zone last season (NFL Rank: 6th among WRs)

Even while hobbled by a knee injury in 2016, Jimmy Graham (SEA) was a threat. He averaged 9.7 Yards per Target (923 yards/95 targets) last season (NFL Rank: 2nd of 35 Qualified TEs; League Avg: 7.3)

Pierre Garcon (SF) racked up 1,041 receiving yards in 2016, but the 49ers’ new number one receiver doesn’t hit pay dirt very often. Garcon averaged a touchdown every 26.3 receptions (79 Rec/3 TDs) last season (NFL Rank: 49th of 51 Qualified WRs; League Avg: 13.0)

Jeremy Kerley (SF) did not gain 40+ yards on any of his 64 receptions last season

 

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Arizona led the NFL in sacks in 2016 (48), and many of those came on third down. The Cardinals defense sacked opponents 23 times on 3rd down last season (NFL Rank: 1st of 32; League Avg: 14)

Los Angeles Rams Punter, Johnny Hekker, placed 52.0% of punts inside the 20 (51/98) last season (NFL Rank: 2nd of 32; League Avg: 36.9%)

The Rams defense blitzed 227 times last season (NFL Rank: 1st of 32; League Avg: 153). Despite all of that attempted pressure, L.A. managed just 31 sacks (24th among NFL teams).

The Seahawks ranked 7th in rushing yards allowed per game in 2016, in large part because they didn’t surrender many splash plays. Seattle allowed rushes of 10 or more yards on just 35 of 431 carries (8.1%) last season (NFL Rank: 1st of 32; League Avg: 11.4%)

The Seahawks defense averaged a sack every 8.4 pass attempts (59 Pass Attempts/ 7 Sacks) on plays in the red zone last season (NFL Rank: best of 32; League Avg: 19.6)

San Francisco 49ers Punter, Bradley Pinion, placed 28.0% of punts inside the 20 (28/100) last season (NFL Rank: 30th of 32; League Avg: 36.9%)

The 49ers defense allowed 29.3 points per game to opposing offenses (469 points / 16 games) last season (NFL Rank: 32nd of 32; League Avg: 21.6)

 

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