Seattle is a significant favorite to yet again win the NFC West, and by the betting odds they are head and shoulders above the competition. The Seahawks will, however, still have to do it on the field.
Arizona still has talented players, but the regression of Carson Palmer prevents the Cardinals from moving up. For Los Angeles and San Francisco, they both have a long way to go to even by .500 clubs, let alone a factor in the division race. So the NFC West is Seattle's to lose. Here is our preseason preview and all the NFL odds listed are courtesy of 5Dimes.
Last year the Seattle defense took a step backward. The Seahawks were not horrible, still ranked 5th in total defense, but more prolific offenses they had a harder time stopping those opponents. They are looking to get their swagger back, but lack the depth on the defense line and being smaller upfront might be a hindrance. The Seahawks' offensive line is like a major airport, always under construction. Russell Wilson is being hit more than ever, and unless Eddie Lacy is the power back that fits the offense will continue to be average. Seattle wins the division again, but 'over' is risky wager for NFL picks.
Odds To Win Division (as of 7/27)
L.A. Rams +2500
San Francisco +4000
Arizona wants to believe it has one more year in it to reach greatness, with QB Carson Palmer 38 in December and WR Larry Fitzgerald 34. Let's be honest: Palmer should retire after this season and Coach Bruce Arians has shifted gears with the Cardinals' offense, with RB David Johnson now the star of the team. The offensive line is better at run blocking than pass blocking. With DE Calais Campbell gone and four other starters from last season departing because of free agency, it is not a stretch to think the defense will allow more points. The Redbirds at .500 sounds accurate.
Season Win Totals (as of 7/27)
L.A. Rams Un6
San Francisco Un5
Los Angeles Rams
Coach Sean McVay was primarily hired because of how he worked with Kirk Cousins in Washington, and he has another young quarterback to work with in Jared Goff. Los Angeles will move to more of a spread offense, which is similar to what Goff ran in college and this could help a mediocre offense line and hopefully provide RB Todd Gurley more running lanes -- if he runs with more zest. The Rams have good defensive players in the front seven and DC Wade Phillips is an excellent choice to bring this group along. Phillips will have to find a pass rush quick, because the L.A. secondary is well below average. Looks like the oddsmakers have the Rams pegged correctly at 5-11.
Odds To Win NFC (as of 7/27)
Seattle +270 (2nd in NFC)
Arizona +650 (9th)
L.A. Rams +6900 (15th)
San Francisco +8000 (Last)
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco is embarking on a new era, led by GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. Lynch got the job because he sounded good on TV and interviewed well, and Niners fans hope he's not the next Matt Millen, who took the same path. The roster has been completely overhauled and the immediate goal is instilling toughness and effort. Shanahan's offense relies on an accurate QB, and Brian Hoyer does have that skill, if not much else. Otherwise, RB Carlos Hyde needs to stay healthy. Lynch is building the defense around the line with solid available talent and draft picks. The rest of the defense will take time. Given the schedule, four victories looks like the ceiling.