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2009 NFL Divisional Previews: NFC West


Marc Lawrence

Marc Lawrence

By Marc Lawrence • Playbook.com

Last year we went out on a limb and predicted that a sleeper team could emerge from the NFC WEST DIVISION and that the Cardinals appeared ready for a breakthrough year.

And like the amazing Karnac, Arizona opened the envelope and answered when the Redbirds came within 30 seconds of winning the Super Bowl.

Is there a team inside the NFC WEST that can stand and deliver again in 2009? Or better, yet is there another sleeper team residing within?


Here is my take of teams in the NFC WEST DIVISION for 2009. Enjoy…

NFC West


Team Theme – EVIL EYE

When the Cardinals walked off with the consolation prize in SBXLIII in February, they immediately became prime ‘play against’ fodder for the 2009 season ahead. Since the 1999 season, the dreaded “Super Bowl Loser” jinx has really come to the fore with those teams going 77-85 SU and 65-95-2 ATS overall. If that’s not bad enough, consider that in the last eight years, only one of those teams (Seattle in 2006) made the playoffs the following year. The jinx even bit mighty New England last season, and Ken Whisenhunt is concerned his team could be up against it in 2009. That’s because teams that shun the run generally do not go very far in this league. While Arizona managed to beat the stigma last season, we don’t see the Red Birds being able to run the jinx into the ground this year – not even with the addition of bruising first-round RB Beanie Wells. PLAY AGAINST: at Seattle (10/18)


Team Theme – BABY STEPS

It’s difficult to put a 2-14 season under the microscope and find many positives. We could point to the last three losses of the season, (by a combined total of 8 points) and compare them to losses in the first four games of the season (by an average 26 PPG) and say the Rams were peaking at season’s end. But, that would be putting a political spin on the campaign and we don’t want to go there. What the microscope doesn’t show was a team ravaged with injuries, particularly on the offensive line. As a result, Steve Spagnuolo moves over from his defensive coordinator post with the Giants to become the fourth head coach in five years for this troubled franchise. A newly-installed spread offense means the transition will be doubly difficult.  2009 NFL Divisional Previews: NFC West One thing is certain. A healthy dose of RB Steven Jackson will be a step in the right direction. PLAY ON: vs. San Francisco (10/4)



For a team with a losing record last season, the Niners showed signs of promise. A 5-2 finish under interim head coach Mike Singletary, who took over for Mike Nolan in Game Eight, made believers of the owners and they responded by elevating Singletary to official head coach status. Likeable Mike will need to find a quarterback to lead his charges. Former first-round bust Alex Smith and fifth-round pick Nate Davis could hold the keys to Singletary’s future. Both have plenty of potential. The question is does it surface in San Francisco? WR Michael Crabtree fell into the 49ers’ laps as the tenth player chosen in the first-round of this year’s draft. The NFC West is wide open and this year’s schedule is split evenly between winners and non-winners from last year. If Crabtree is as good as promised, and if Singletary put his stamp on the defense, San Fran’s surprising surge just may continue. PLAY ON: as dog vs. Seattle (10/26)


Team Theme – BOTTOMS UP

It was not the way it was intended to be. Hall of Fame head coach Mike Holmgren was to hand the baton off to Jim Mora, Jr., concluding a brilliant 17-year career as a head coach in the NFL. The exchange was botched when the Seahawks went 4-12; Holmgren’s worst season ever. The Seahawks were hit hard by the injury big in 2008, most importantly at quarterback where Matt Hasselbeck missed nine games with a bad back. Reports are the former Pro Bowl QB is at full strength and is thrilled with the off-season acquisition of WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh. LB Aaron Curry, the 4th pick in this year’s NFL draft, should stabilize a defense that declined 52 YPG last season. Mora did a fine job by winning 27 games in three years as a head coach with Atlanta from 2004-06. We have no doubt that he will have this team back up to Holmgren’s standards in no time. PLAY ON: vs. Green Bay (12/27)

Note: Marc Lawrence is a 30-year veteran handicapper. He finished No.1 in the nation (88-63 +25.7 Net Units) in MLB during the 2007 season as documented by Sports Watch in Las Vegas.

Comments are Welcome!!!


Marc Lawrence Has Been Handicapping Sports Professionally Since 1975 – Check Out His Weekly Picks & His DAILY MLB PLAYS Today Here at Capperspicks.com >>>


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  1. Matt Hasselbeck looked pretty good the other night against Denver. If he can stay healthy he gives Seattle a good chance at returning to the top of the NFC West.