Not long ago, the NFC West was the best division in football. Now, according to the NFL odds, two of the four teams are about to take a tumble in the win column.
It was a fun ride while it lasted. The NFC West has been the source of some great NFL picks for us over the past four years; who can forget that magical 2013 season, when three of the four teams finished 11-5 ATS? Good times. Sadly, those four years featured a certain Mr. James Joseph Harbaugh, who will now weave his coaching magic with the Michigan Wolverines.
Back on the West Coast... it's life, Jim, but not as we know it. Your San Francisco 49ers are in trouble, but they're not the only ones expected to lose ground. The NFL odds say the Arizona Cardinals are due for a fall, and according to our projected final standings, even the Seattle Seahawks are going to lose more often this year. It's quite sad, really. But hey, the coffee's good. And there's always the MLS.
It's Fun To Lose
Once again, we take the regular season win-loss records, line them up with our preferred stat-geek projections for 2015, and presto:
It's not a total disaster. There's only one losing team in the bunch, and the Seattle Seahawks are still the Super Bowl favorites everywhere on our NFL odds board except Bovada, where the Green Bay Packers are in the driver's seat. However, if “buy low, sell high” is the mantra, then this is the time to sell on the Seahawks. They're favored to go OVER their win total of 11, but while TeamRankings has projected them for 11.1 wins, FiveThirtyEight is much less optimistic at 10.4. Who knows, though, maybe QB Russell Wilson and his miracle water will change everything.
We're a bit surprised to see Arizona at 8-8. The last two years under head coach Bruce Arians have brought double-digit victories, and this year's win totals have the Cardinals going OVER 8.5. However, the Cards are also pegged to go UNDER nine wins, depending on which book you shop at, and the statheads think eight is enough. Our take: Arizona will be fine as long as QB Carson Palmer is healthy, which might be a coin flip in and of itself.
We've already said plenty about the 49ers turning into a wet pile of leaves, so let's focus on the one team that's generating some optimism in the stat community. Yes indeed, the St. Louis Rams are being tabbed for eight wins, which would be their best season since 2006. It's a reasonable target with a league-average QB like Nick Foles under center, and it's possible that Foles will find the same touch that helped him reach the Pro Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. Never look down on a league-average quarterback – that's what made Arizona so profitable when Palmer landed in the desert.