After seeing the free agency arms race between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers last month, both teams seem primed to make a serious run at the Super Bowl in 2013. Seattle added the top two free agent defensive ends, Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, and traded for the electrifying Percy Harvin. San Francisco added a couple of big names in Anquan Boldin and Nnamdi Asomugha, but will look to make a bigger splash at the draft later this month, where they have four picks in the first 75, and 13 picks overall.
It’s clear that the Seahawks are making a push to become one of the best teams in the NFC, and the aura of preseason hype is in the Seattle air. Still, offseason acquisitions mean nothing if the product on the field doesn’t provide the desired results. San Francisco linebacker NaVorro Bowman was more than willing to remind the Seahawks of that fact when he spoke with NFL Around the League.
“I think people like the next best thing,” 49ers All-Pro linebackerNaVorro Bowman told Around The League on Friday. “I think people like seeing the challenger get close to being the best. That’s what they’re doing. (Seattle) had a great game against us at their house (a 42-13 victory over San Francisco in Week 16). (They) turned heads, knowing that we were a good team, and the cookies fell where they may.”
Said Bowman: “You have to earn these things. This is their first time being mentioned like that, in this sentence, and we’ll see what they’ll do with that.”
Also, don’t count out the other two teams in the NFC West. The St. Louis Rams are taking serious strides to improve under Jeff Fisher. They have two first-round draft picks this year and added two top free agents, tight end Jared Cook and tackle Jake Long. Arizona still boasts a great defense despite cutting safeties Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes, and the offense should be better with quarterback Carson Palmer, running back Rashard Mendenhall and new head coach Bruce Arians.
The San Francisco-Seattle rivalry is becoming one of the most enjoyable to take in, and the NFC West is definitely no longer the “NFC Worst”. Welcome to the offseason of never-ending Wild Wild West puns.
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Down and Distance Columnist Joe Ray – @jpray_SK