'NFL Total Access' recap: What team will rule NFC West?

Did you miss Thursday's edition of "NFL Total Access" on NFL Network? Catch up with this recap:

49ers vs. Seahawks

In the NFC West arms race, of the top two teams, Darren Sharper says the San Francisco 49ers are primed for a setback. He pointed to the loss of top wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Anquan Boldin's signing helps, but he doesn't have chemistry with his teammates, yet. He likes the 49ers' front seven, but the secondary, which lost safety Dashon Goldson, needs to rebound after getting torched by Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in the Super Bowl. Heath Evans says neither team will regress, but if one does, it will be the Seattle Seahawks because of discipline issues. They've had too many suspended players, which points to a lack of leadership, he says.

Captain Cam?

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith looks forward to the challenge of playing against Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis. Smith said it doesn't matter whether he believes quarterback Cam Newton should or shouldn't be a captain, because the team votes. Smith said he didn't vote for himself last year.

Panthers projection

Evans said the Panthers' defensive backfield concerns him, and he projects them to go 9-7 and struggle against top quarterbacks. He sees them starting 7-0 before hitting four consecutive losses against the Bucs, 49ers, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.

Sleeper Saints

Sharper picked the New Orleans Saints as the 7-9 team from the NFC South that could make the playoffs. He said he'll always go with a team that has been there before. The return of coach Sean Payton along with the addition of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will help.

Broncos backfield

Evans says the Denver Broncos have three good running backs still on the roster after cutting ties with starter Willis McGahee. Sharper's concern? The running back must live up to Peyton Manning's demands. All three guys are young and it will be a battle between Montee Ball, Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman.

RGIII safer in read-option?

Both Evans and Sharper reacted to Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan saying he feels Robert Griffin III is safer in the read-option than a regular pass formation. Shanahan said all three injuries came on pass plays. Neither Evans nor Sharper agrees. Evans said he sees what Shanahan was saying in that defenders aren't coming full speed, but reacting to plays, which gives RGIII extra time to get rid of the ball. Sharper said that as a defender, the more chances he's given to hit a playmaker, the better. Sharper said if they continue to use RGIII like this, the dynamic playmaker might end up like Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, where he starts to break down and can't play a full season.

Be sure to tune into "NFL Total Access" Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET on NFL Network.

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