Originally written September 08, 2012 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Beware Thy Neighbor! Week 1 NFC West Matchups + Previews

RAMS vs. LIONS (Sept 9 1 PM ET)

The Rams open their 2012 season heading to the Motor City to take on a Lions’ squad that made the playoffs last season.

The Rams had the 2nd worst record in the NFL last season and Sam Bradford had a sophomore slump. Their offense may struggle this season again, as they have a pretty weak WR corps and Steven Jackson is no spring chicken any longer. The Rams are going though a youth movement under new coach Jeff Fisher and St. Louis may struggle again.

The Lions have a young defense that struggled last season, but they do have talent and while Ndamukong Suh and a group of solid LB’s may give the team a solid run defense their pass defense is a concern and the Lions gave up almost 950 passing yards and 9 TD in their last 2 preseason games. Still, Detroit features Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson, which may be the best QB/WR duo in the league.

I think the Rams will have a decent game on offense, but their secondary will be torched and the Lions will win.

49ERS vs. PACKERS (Sept 9 4:25 PM ET)

This game is THE marquee game of Week 1 and the 49ers may feature a better offense this season since they added WR’s Mario Manningham and Randy Moss in free agency and used their 1st and 2nd round draft picks to take WR A.J. Jenkins and RB LaMichael James. On top of that they have Frank Gore and Alex Smith, who had the best year of his career last season, and a great defense.

The Packers have Aaron Rodgers and one of the best WR corps in the league and their run offense may be better this season with the free agent addition of Cedric Benson. The issue with the Packers last season was on defense, which is why they used their first 6 picks in the draft to take defensive players.

The 49ers have to be happy that they are in Green Bay at the beginning of September rather than later in the year when it is freezing, but I still have to go with the Packers at home behind Rodgers.
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