Last year the NFC West deviated from expectations most people had. The defending Super Bowl Champion L.A. Rams fell apart early in the season and never recovered. The Arizona Cardinals, a playoff team the year before, ended up with the 3rd worst record in the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks who most expected to struggle after losing Russell Wilson, made the playoffs lead by Comeback Player of the Year Geno Smith. And the San Francisco 49ers despite losing their top two quarterbacks, still ended up as the Two Seed and in the NFC Championship game. So how does the division shake out this year? Should we expect another round of craziness, or are things far more predictable this season? Let’s dive into the numbers.
Best Available Division Prices in Market
San Francisco 49ers -145 (DraftKings) Look under division finishing order instead of division winner
Seattle Seahawks +282 (Pinnacle) if you don’t have access to Pinnacle you can find +250 (Bet365, BetMGM)
L.A. Rams +850 (Caesars, FanDuel)
Arizona Cardinals +2500 (Bet365, Caesars, DraftKings, BetMGM, BetRivers)
San Francisco 49ers
The Bull Case – Kyle Shanahan is a brilliant Play-caller who showed last year he can find success even if it’s with his back-up or even 3rd string QB. The 49ers are loaded defensively, with stars at every position group. Their weapon group is among the very best in the NFL. The Depth at the Quarterback position again this year in Brock Purdy, Trey Lance and Sam Darnold. They have a very soft schedule this year. They are in a very weak division which may end up being a two horse race.
The Bear Case – This is easily the weakest Offensive Line they’ve had since acquiring Trent Williams in 2020. Brock Purdy’s injury might not have him ready for the start of the season, and we’re still uncertain how good or bad Trey Lance is. This is the second defensive coordinator change in the last 3 years.
The Bull Case – The Seattle Seahawks have built a very good/deep offense. Geno Smith has proven he’s a good fit in this offense and can be a somewhat successful Quarterback. They have a top 5 Wide Receiver Trio in the NFL. They have depth at Runningback, even if they should have spent their draft resources elsewhere. Their O-line is young and should be even better than it was last year. Their secondary is deep and a mix of young and old. Bobby Wagner being back should bring leadership to this defense. They are in a very weak division which may end up being a two horse race.
The Bear Case – Their defensive line still leaves a lot to be desired and they didn’t do a good enough job addressing it in Free Agency or through the draft. It’s a lot easier to fly under the radar when there’s no expectations last year. This year they won’t sneak up on anyone.
The Bull Case – The Rams still have Sean McVay who is one of the better offensive-minded Head Coaches in football. The O-line should be a lot better and healthier this year. Cooper Kupp is still a special playmaker. Cam Akers really came on strong at the end of last year. And the hope is Matthew Stafford will be healthier this year.
The Bear Case – The Rams have completely re-vamped their defense and not in a good way. They lost a lot of good defensive starters and didn’t properly replace them. There will be a lot of growing pains on defense and they could very well be the worst in the league. Just how much does Matthew Stafford have left in the tank? The injuries have piled up over the years and there’s not much left for him to accomplish. This is a one-weapon pass game, and the top defenses should shut them down with ease. Drafting Stetson Bennett in the 4th round was an odd choice for a team that has so many holes to fill.
The Bull Case – In order for the Arizona Cardinals to have any meaningful success, they need Kyler Murray to return early in the season, and play at a high level again. Outside of that happening it’s hard to make a bull case.
The Bear Case – Kyler Murray’s health is the biggest concern. The range of when he could return is quite wide. If it’s anywhere in the middle of the season or later, the damage could be done and it will be too late to turn it around. That and the Arizona Cardinals franchise might decide bringing Kyler back to a 1-8 team just to have him win enough games to take away a potential 1st overall pick is a sub-optimal strategy. Not with Caleb Williams and Drake Maye hovering over next year’s draft class. As for the rest of the Bear case there’s a ton of reason not to be optimistic. The Cardinals have three new unproven coaches who have never done the job they’re being asked to do. New Head Coach Jonathan Gannon was only a defensive coordinator for two years before getting the job. New Offensive Coordinator Drew Petzing has never been an OC or playcaller. And new Defensive coordinator Nick Rallis also has never been a DC or called plays. As for the rest of the roster, there are some bright spots but for the most part they are depleted in several areas of the field.
Power Ratings and Projected Win Totals
San Francisco 49ers – 6th in my Power Ratings. 10.79 Projected Wins
Seattle Seahawks – 13th in my Power Ratings. 8.86 Projected Wins
L.A. Rams – 30th in my Power Ratings. 5.49 Projected Wins
Arizona Cardinals – 32nd in my Power Ratings. 5.28 Projected Wins
The Arizona Cardinals win total is the hardest to project due to the uncertainty of Kyler Murray’s timeframe, thus I am not confident that I have an accurate number. It could be far lower than this. This division feels like there’s two separate races. One to win the division. The other to win the first overall pick. Let’s see if we can bet with that in mind.
Bets I’m Making for NFC West Division
Seattle Seahawks 2nd in the division +140 – Can be found at Bet365.
Bets I’m Making for Win Totals
L.A Rams Under 6.5 Wins -110 – Found at Bet365 and DraftKings
If you missed my previous articles find them at the links below:
Guide to Beat the AFC West Futures Market
Navigating the NFC East Futures Market
Beating the AFC South Futures Market
How to attack the NFC North Futures Market