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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

CBS Sports: Rams and Seahawks could challenge 49ers in 2024

Jul 5, 2024 at 10:46 AM

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The San Francisco 49ers boast one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. Many would argue that Kyle Shanahan's squad is the most talented ensemble in the league, featuring playmakers on both sides of the ball. On offense, this includes Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle. On defense, there's Nick Bosa, Leonard Floyd, Fred Warner, and Charvarius Ward.

"San Francisco has what it needs to not only win the NFC West again but also the NFC as a whole," wrote Garrett Podell of CBS Sports.

However, that doesn't mean the 49ers will go unchallenged in the NFC West. While they secured the division title with relative ease last season, Podell believes the Bay Area team might face stiffer competition in 2024.

Podell notes that the Los Angeles Rams have bolstered their offensive line, secondary, and defensive front this offseason. Additionally, the Seattle Seahawks have several pieces in place to offer a more formidable fight during the upcoming season. The challenge will be for new head coach Mike Macdonald to get the job done.

"It appears Sean McVay has a cloning laboratory for high-level receiver play in the same way the Green Bay Packers have one for high-level quarterback play," Podell wrote, highlighting the challenge of facing the Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua duo.

"When Nacua, Kupp, second-year running back Kyren Williams, and quarterback Matthew Stafford all played, Los Angeles averaged nearly 30 points per game (28.5), and Stafford threw 18 touchdowns to only three interceptions," Podell added.

On defense, the Rams lost Aaron Donald but used their first two draft picks on pass rusher Jared Verse and defensive tackle Braden Fiske. They addressed the secondary by adding safety Kamren Curl and cornerbacks Tre'Davious White and Darious Williams.

"Provided everyone on the offense can stay healthy, the defense should be competent enough for Los Angeles to make the 49ers sweat," Podell commented.

The Seahawks aimed to improve their 30th-ranked defense by drafting defensive tackle Byron Murphy II in the first round. Wide receiver DK Metcalf is coming off his second consecutive season exceeding 1,000 receiving yards, marking his third career season achieving that milestone. Together with Tyler Lockett, they form a formidable receiving duo.

"If Seattle can do a better job protecting quarterback Geno Smith -- its 40.2% quarterback pressure rate allowed was the eighth-worst in NFL -- and play a stronger brand of defense across the board, the Seahawks could be a threat in the NFC West in 2024," Podell concluded.
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