California is one of the best places to live in the world and is a well-known tourist destination. The most populous state in the USA, California also currently has four NFL teams, which will drop by one when the Oakland Raiders move to Las Vegas. None of the four has done particularly great in recent seasons, other than the Raiders last year, but could things change in the 2017 campaign? We now look at the four California-based teams and explore how they could fare this season.
The Chargers endured a disappointing campaign last season. Previously based in San Diego, they finished fourth in the AFC West, and they will be determined to fare better this campaign. Having relocated to Los Angeles this year, the team will feel confident of having a decent season, although early bet365 NFL odds of them winning the division are +500. What is interesting about the team is that there are a number of good playmakers, and a couple of the players could be the breakout stars of the 2017 NFL campaign. Running back Melvin Gordon, 24, and 22-year-old tight end Hunter Henry could take their game to the next level. The addition of veteran safety Tre Boston is also going to enhance the quality of the team’s defense.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams failed to do much of note in the 2016 NFL season and could not finish in the playoffs. They wound up third in the NFC West with just four wins and 12 losses. They could struggle again this season, especially since they had one of the least productive drafts among all the teams in the 2017 NFL Draft. Perhaps the Rams should have gone for a wide receiver in round two instead of drafting a tight end. There are still some very good players on the Rams’ roster, though, such as Sam Rogers. Winning the NFC West is going to be hard, and a .500 season would be a step in the right direction.
Head coach Jack Del Rio’s squad finished second in the AFC West last season, and will be keen on doing better in the 2017 NFL season. The Raiders finished the regular season with a 12-4 record, the first time since 2002 that they had a winning record. They could not do much thereafter, though, going down 27-14 to the Houston Texans in the wild card playoffs. That was after the injury, of course, to emerging QB superstar Derek Carr. Besides Carr’s return, another positive for the Raiders this season is that Mario Edwards Jr seems to be fully fit. The defensive end is a key player for the team, and if he is fit throughout the campaign and plays to the best of his ability, then combined with more improvement on defense the Raiders could be optimistic of challenging for the AFC title and going to the Super Bowl.
San Francisco 49ers
With one of the greatest franchises in the history of the league, the 49ers are a big-name but their recent seasons have been hugely disappointing. In what turned out to the only season led by former head coach Chip Kelly, San Francisco had a woeful 2-14 record in the NFC West in 2016, while in 2015 its record was 5-11. It is hard to see the 49ers make much of an impact in the NFL in 2017, although they will start the campaign aiming to at least challenge for the playoffs. The 49ers, who have won the Super Bowl as many as five times in their history, are a shadow of the team they were in the 1980s and 1990s. However, they did have a good 2017 NFL Draft. The addition of taking defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and linebacker Reuben Foster to the team could prove to be vital.