NFL2014 Crystal Schnoz Predictions – NFC West

3 notes before we get to the predictions:

1. NFL predictions are so hard to nail because of injuries, parity, and random bounces of the ball. That’s why this is so fun.

2. FO = Football Outsiders. I reference them and their phenomenal stats a lot. Their almanac is fantastic, go buy it.

3. Share your predictions in the comments so we can come back in January and marvel at how much smarter I am than you.


#1 – Seattle Seahawks

2 Things You Might Already Know

1) The last Super Bowl winner to win a playoff game in the following season was the 2005 Patriots. It’s been 9 years!!! Can this team put an end to that trend?

2) Think disciplined teams are the ones who win Super Bowls? No team was penalized more in 2013 than the Seahawks.

2 Things You Didn’t Already Know

1) Pete Carroll, an ardent sideline gum chewer, swears by Juicy Fruit. Offer him anything mint or cinnamon-related and he’ll punch you in the eye.

2) Richard Sherman had Mexican food in Washington D.C. the night before the Seahawks met President Obama. During the ceremony the next day he dropped 137 farts, nearly killing Russell Wilson from asphyxiation.

Random Object That Reminds Us Of This Team Without Any Context or Explanation: strong coffee

Celebrity Fans: Jim Caviezel, Macklemore, Donald Miller

Best Case Scenario: 16-0

Worst Case Scenario: Mt. St Helens erupts, only instead of lava, it erupts with the acidic tears of an angry Jim Harbaugh, destroying the 12th man, the 11 players, and everyone in the state of Washington.

Schnoz Prediction: 12-4

Why:  One of the things engraved on the Seahawks’ super bowl rings is final score of the Broncos Beat Down: “43-8.” Another thing engraved on the ring? The phrase “what’s next?” This is a team built for more than one and done, and while they may not repeat as champs this year, all the pieces are in place to win a division title and ensure a playoff game in front of their 12th man. It helps that the rest of the division has been hampered with injuries and suspensions. It also helps that the roster is deep; a direct result of Russell Wilson only making $662,434 this year in base salary. When Red Bryant and Chris Clemons pack their bags to play with Gus Bradley in Jacksonville, in step Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril to fill the void. Done and done. What else is done in Seattle? A limited playbook for Wilson. Word is Darrell Bevell has opened up the playbook for the QB, and we can expect to see a much more dynamic offense this year. To answer the question on their ring, what’s next in Seattle is more of the same: wins and lots of them.

#2 – San Francisco 49ers

2 Things You Might Already Know

1) After playing at Candlestick park for over four decades, the 49ers will play in Levi’s Stadium this year, opening up in Week 2 against the Bears.

2) The Niners have lost to the eventual SB Champ in 3 straight seasons. Two of the last four teams to do that have made it to the Super Bowl the following year, per FO.

2 Things You Didn’t Already Know

1) As a throwback to Candlestick, the concession areas in the North side of Levi’s Stadium have been named “The Swamp” and will feature ankle-deep muddy turf, strong gusts of wind, and not even a hint of the sun.

2) Jim Harbaugh sleeps in khakis.

Random Object That Reminds Us Of This Team Without Any Context or Explanation: a catcher’s mitt

Celebrity Fans: Jennifer Garner, Andy Samberg

Best Case Scenario: 16-0

Worst Case Scenario: They lose Glen Dorsey for most of the year to biceps surgery, Aldon Smith to suspension for 9 games, and NaVorro Bowman for half the season to a torn ACL and MCL. Then, a week before the season starts their starting left defensive tackle gets arrested for a domestic violence incident. Oh wait, that’s exactly what happened.

Schnoz Prediction: 9-7

Why:  It’s fun to conjure up “the sky is falling” stories for good football teams. It makes you sound like a contrarian and, you know, who doesn’t love a little trolling from time to time? And while we don’t believe the sky IS falling in San Francisco, we aren’t going to sit here and ignore the ominous clouds, either. That dominating defense from 2013 isn’t stepping onto the field to start the year (See the above Worst Case Scenario), and oh by the way, that defense wasn’t so dominating. Football Outsiders ranked them 13th in the NFL last season, outside of the Top 10 against the Pass AND the Rush. We think this team has the widest range of possible outcomes of any team this year. One more key injury and this team might start tuning out Harbaugh and slip to 6-10…they do have the league’s 4th toughest schedule. They also have a talented roster, and if they get healthy by January they could make another run and finish the job this time. We’re hedging our bets in the middle for now, but we’ve brought an umbrella with us just in case.

#3 – Arizona Cardinals

2 Things You Might Already Know

1) The Cardinals had the second best defense in the league last year, per FO!

2) In 2013 they went 10-6, won eight of their last ten games, and still missed the playoffs because the NFC is that good.

2 Things You Didn’t Already Know

1) Carson Palmer owns the entire series of DuckTales on DVD and BluRay.

2) CB Patrick Patterson, regarded as one of the best cornerbacks in the league, stays sharp in the offseason by catching squirrels with his bare hands while wearing roller skates.

Random Object That Reminds Us Of This Team Without Any Context or Explanation: a futon

Celebrity Fans: John McCain, Joe Maddon, Will Leitch

Best Case Scenario: 16-0

Worst Case Scenario: They improve by a win, finish 11-5, and still miss the playoffs because the NFC is that good.

Schnoz Prediction: 7-9

Why:  The NFC East has the Cowboys, the NFC South has the Falcons, the NFC North has the Bears, and the now we’ve come to the NFC West’s version: The Cardinals. What’s the question for this answer, Trebek? “Who are the NFC teams who have potentially great offenses and potentially bad defenses?” Now, before you jump all over us, note that we said “potential.” Yes, the Cardinals finished 2nd in DVOA last year on defense, but this year they are facing tougher offensive foes (DEN, PHI, DAL, SD, and ATL) with a much weaker starting eleven. Starting LB Daryl Washington? Suspended for the year. Starting DT Darnell Dockett? ACL Surgery last week. The Honey Badger? Coming off of two torn knee ligaments. Lots of question marks that we will get answers too soon enough. On the positive side, Andre Ellington and John Brown improve what was already a decent offense, led by the sometimes brilliant and sometimes frustrating Carson Palmer. There’s potential for another winning season in the desert, but putting all of the lazy “oasis” references aside, we just don’t see it.

#4 – St. Louis Rams

2 Things You Might Already Know

1) Sam Bradford re-injured his ACL this pre-season and Shaun Hill is now under center taking the first team snaps.

2) J.J. Watt gets all the hype, but Robert Quinn is every bit the pass rusher that Watt is. In 2013 Quinn had more sacks (19.0 to 10.5), more hurries (43.0 to 38.5) and Quinn led the league by drawing the most offensive holding penalties.

2 Things You Didn’t Already Know

1) Jeff Fisher’s mustache weighs 21.6 pounds.

2) Kicker Greg Zuerlein hasn’t driven an automobile in over eight years as he believes using the gas and brake pedals “steal trace amounts of kicking power from my moneymaker.” He has a full-time driver and no friends.

Random Object That Reminds Us Of This Team Without Any Context or Explanation: a twisted slinky

Celebrity Fans: Ty Burrell and Nelly

Best Case Scenario: 16-0

Worst Case Scenario: Sam Bradford, angry and hopped up on pain medication, sneaks into the team’s hotel and snips the ACLs of the entire 53-man roster with a rusty pair of scissors and they all die.

Schnoz Prediction: 3-13

Why:  We tend to agree with many of the experts out there that the problem with this offense is not Sam Bradford; the problem is Brian Schottenheimer. His Jets’ offenses were abysmal, and it’s been more of the same in St. Louis. Yes, this defensive front seven is dynamic. And yes, Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald will wreak havoc on opposing offenses all year. But if you’re looking for some storyline symmetry with the 1999 season, forget it. Shaun Hill will not be leading a playoff surge for Jeff Fisher the way Kurt Warner did AGAINST Jeff Fisher in 1999. This conference is too tough, the schedule is too challenging, and the Rams’ offense is too vanilla, if that vanilla is laced with ipecac syrup. It’s gag city under the arch this year.

Alright everyone, chime in with your thoughts on the NFC West.

What do you agree with and where am I dead wrong?


AFC: East | North | South | West

NFC: East | North | South | West | The Playoffs