Most see this division as a toss-up between the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers, but this could be a much closer race than you think.
Seattle Seahawks +110
San Francisco 49ers +130
Arizona Cardinals +700
St. Louis Rams +1200
Seattle Seahawks season win total over/under: 10.5 (over -168)
It’s hard to hate on the champs, especially when the Seahawks look stronger on paper than they did last year. Having a healthy Percy Harvin for at least 12 games could translate into at least a couple more wins. The only real con against this team is the division it plays in. This is no cakewalk for Seattle. The 49ers and Cardinals each won 10 games last year and the Rams are coming strong. The Seahawks will be tested along the way and are coming off the dreaded Super Bowl hangover.
Prediction: 10-6, first place in the NFC West. It won’t be easy, but Seattle should win this division. Betting on the Seahawks is another matter entirely. This team is going to see a bunch of big pointspreads and won’t blow out many teams on the schedule. Stay away from big numbers, especially on the road.
San Francisco 49ers season win total over/under: 11 (over +125)
It could be argued that the 49ers head into this season as the second best team in the league – next to Seattle. The Niners begin the year with a healthy Colin Kaepernick and Michael Crabtree, a dominant offensive line and an end zone hound in Vernon Davis. Their defence will miss Navarro Bowman and Aldon Smith for a good deal of the season and that will put major strain on this unit. The 49ers may have to open it up more to compensate.
Prediction: 10-6, tied for second in the NFC West. Take a look at betting against the 49ers early in the schedule while giving the over a long look. They should make it out of the first month of the season in good shape, but may not cover big lines.
Arizona Cardinals season win total over/under: 7.5 (over -150)
There’s a great chance the Cardinals have a significantly better team this year but finish with a worse record than last year. That’s just the way it’s going to be in this division. The Cardinals look to be in great shape offensively if they can keep Carson Palmer upright and should rival the Seahawks and 49ers in that department. The big question is whether Arizona’s defence will be as good after losing Daryl Washington (suspension) and Karlos Dansby (Cleveland).
Prediction: 9-7, third place in the NFC West. Don’t sell this team short. Arizona put together a great run last year under a new coaching staff and will be in the mix again this season. The Cardinals, who have a lot of young talent but lack depth, might be just a season away.
St. Louis Rams season win total over/under: 7.5 (over -121)
The Rams may have the best defensive line and special teams in football and there’s no doubt they’ll need both to stay competitive in this division. There’s reason for optimism on offence too if Sam Bradford can stay healthy and Zac Stacy keeps churning out yards in the backfield. Is it enough to unseat the other three teams in the division though? Probably not. Bradford still needs better receiving weapons.
Prediction: 8-8, fourth place in the NFC West. Bet the under in St. Louis’ games. The Rams will lean on Stacy and hope to hold the fort with their defence.