Early division breakdown: NFC West

With San Francisco set to face Kansas City in Super Bowl LIV, here's a brief retrospective and 2020 prospectus on the NFC West.

Of the last eight NFC Champions, five have been from the West, and three of the franchises in the division have reached the Super Bowl in that time:

2019 – 49ers

2018 – Rams

2017 – Eagles

2016 – Falcons

2015 – Panthers

2014 – Seahawks

2013 – Seahawks

2012 – 49ers

The Legion of Boom doesn't have much bearing on the Jadeveon Clowney Seahawks. And the Cardinals and 49ers drafted atop every round less than 12 months ago. So aside from being an interesting trend, rosters churn too frequently in the NFL for broad stroke assessments along the lines of, "The best division in football over the past decade."

But looking ahead to 2020, expect the NFC West to be regarded as the toughest.

With virtual certainty, all four teams will return their head coach and quarterback, and I would put those foundations up against any other tandems in the league.

The NFC West combined for 38 wins a year ago, easily more than any other division in the NFL. The AFC East and NFC North were next with 34.

The 49ers may win the Super Bowl, the Seahawks won a road playoff game (and nearly a second), and the Rams were the only team in professional football with a winning record left out of the postseason.

Until free agency, trades, and the draft run their course, the sudden ascension of another division is certainly possible.

But for the time being, the Rams should assume that their task remains as difficult – if not more difficult – than any team in the NFL going into 2020.

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