Ray McDonald arrest improves Seattle Seahawks’ NFC West title chances


Well, the San Francisco 49ers are really making their case to be NFC West champions.

There’s Colin Kaepernick‘s ineptitude and inability to produce scoring drives in the preseason. There’s NaVorro Bowman‘s injury that will keep him out for half the season at a minimum. There’s Alex Boone‘s soon to end contract holdout. There’s Aldon Smith‘s nine-game suspension.

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Oh, and add to that list a possible suspension for Ray McDonald after being arrested for domestic violence.

On Aug. 28, Roger Goodell, in a letter to all NFL owners, outlined a harsher set  of penalties for players arrested for either sexual assault or domestic violence.

Ray McDonald is already putting Goodell’s new policy to the test.

Goodell says that players arrested will receive a minimum six-game suspension without pay on first offense, and that penalty could be increased if the act is performed on a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child, repeated striking, choking and other more severe actions.

McDonald has already vehemently denied the domestic violence claims but hey, the law speaks for itself right?

I have, and will continue to say that the 49ers will struggle to make the playoffs this season. With all the recent maladies surrounding the 49ers, this blow may be the one to completely tip the odds in Seattle and Arizona’s favor.

Now, this situation is all assuming McDonald get suspended, which I suspect he will. Goodell has no choice but to live up to the words he wrote in his letter.

Ray McDonald was the starting defensive end for the 49ers, and that is a key role. McDonald was responsible for playing opposite of Justin Smith and to keep some attention off Smith and Aldon Smith.

Aldon Smith has been suspended nine games for all of his shenanigans for the past two years, and a suspension for McDonald would mean that Justin Smith is the only proven pass rusher on the team. With a very weak secondary, extra time for opposing quarterbacks could be a game-changer.

In the first five weeks of the season, the 49ers face five quality quarterbacks in Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Carson Palmer, Nick Foles and Alex Smith. No pass rushers on quarterbacks of their qualities (except for Smith) will brutally expose the below average cornerback tandem of Tramaine Brock and Chris Culliver.

Assuming McDonald is suspended, the Niners will be without McDonald and Smith for at least six weeks. And in those six weeks, there is a possibility that the Niners go 1-5 with the caliber of opponents they will face in that timespan.

With that possibility, no matter how distant it may be, the Seahawks must be prepared to win very early in the season. They must find a way to capitalize on the inevitable struggles that will befall the 49ers.

The Legion of Boom will have to have a better performance than they did against Derek Carr and the Raiders. Russell Wilson has an MVP-caliber campaign in front of him in 2014. The offensive line has to step their play up to support Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. The wide receiving core has to be prepared to support Wilson.

The 49ers have put the Seahawks in a position to win the NFC West title race in the first six weeks of the season (assuming the Seahawks don’t falter late in the season).

They just have to go out and take it.