NFL Handicapping: The NFC West
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NFL Handicapping Insight
The NFC West preview should read similarly to what it was a year ago, as the expectations for each team are similar to what they were entering the 2018 season. The Rams were able to meet their expectations last season, representing the NFC in Super Bowl LIII, though their style of play was exposed and exploited by Bill Belichick, setting up some questions for them to answer this offseason.
2019 NFC West Predictions: Los Angeles Rams
Rams Odds to Win 2019 Super Bowl: +1000
Rams Odds to Win 2019 NFC Conference: +625
Rams Odds to Win 2019 NFC West Division: -130
The Rams got some help from the officiating crew in the NFC title game to qualify for the Super Bowl, and while they didn’t get the result they wanted in the Big Game. Belichick and the Patriots provided a blueprint of sorts on how to slow the Rams’ offense, leaving Sean McVay with some work to do.
The question marks around Todd Gurley and his knee are concerning. As replaceable as the position has become, he’s such a dynamic talent that his absence would be felt. Nevertheless they remain one of the most talented teams in the conference, and one of the most well coached groups in football. The division remains theirs to lose this season.
2019 NFC West Predictions: San Francisco 49ers
49ers Odds to Win 2019 Super Bowl: +6000
49ers Odds to Win 2019 NFC Conference: +3000
49ers Odds to Win 2019 NFC West Division: +350
The bubble burst relatively quickly a year ago with the injury to Jimmy Garoppolo, but the 49ers entered last season with Super Bowl expectations. With the injury being suffered early in the year, Garoppolo will be ready to go for Week 1. The team will also get a boost in the backfield with the return of another player lost to an ACL injury last season, Jerick McKinnon, as well as free agent addition Tevin Coleman, who’s familiar with head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense from their days in Atlanta.
The front office didn’t stop there, adding Kwon Alexander and Dee Ford to the defense, on top of No. 2 overall draft pick Nick Bosa. If the team can avoid the injury bug that hit it hard last season, the 49ers will present one of the stronger values on the futures board this season.
2019 NFC West Predictions: Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks Odds to Win 2019 Super Bowl: +6000
Seahawks Odds to Win 2019 NFC Conference: +3500
Seahawks Odds to Win 2019 NFC West Division: +300
The Seahawks overperformed on last season’s expectations, with Russell Wilson delivering an MVP-type season in an offense that turned back the clock to lean on the running game. Some key pieces are gone from that team, with veterans Earl Thomas, Frank Clark, and Doug Baldwin all gone.
The loss of Clark was somewhat offset by the addition of Ziggy Ansah, and the selection of L.J. Collier. This is a team that seems destined to overshoot low expectations as long as the Pete Carroll-Russell Wilson combo is still around, but exceeding expectations to the point they’re cashing futures tickets (beyond their win total) seems unlikely.
2019 NFC West Predictions: Arizona Cardinals
Cardinals Odds to Win 2019 Super Bowl: +10000
Cardinals Odds to Win 2019 NFC Conference: +6000
Cardinals Odds to Win 2019 NFC West Division: +2500
It’s rare that we see a team that’s clearly so deep in a rebuild and isn’t expected to even enter the Super Bowl-contention conversation draw as much media coverage as the Cardinals have this offseason, but the additions of Kliff Kingsbury and No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray have put the Cardinals under the microscope.
They should finish fourth in the division with a bullet, though that should help them add another key piece in the draft as they continue to rebuild.
Cappers Picks 2019 NFC West Predictions
The champion of the West may not be as cut and dry as many think, as evidenced by where the Rams’ divisional odds slot in. The Seahawks will be a tough out once again, and the 49ers are really flying under the radar as a team that could take a significant step forward this season.
It’s tough to bypass the Rams, but the 49ers could be a team that has futures bettors with the courage to look past last season’s injury woes laughing all the way to the bank when all is said and done.
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