The NFC West has been turned upside down thanks to the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. The California teams are one-two on the opening odds board to win the division after they were both staring up at the Cardinals and Seahawks prior to last season. But thanks to their innovative young coaches and strong-armed quarterbacks, they could be front-runners in the division for many years.
The Rams won their first NFC West title in 14 seasons by winning 11 games with the league’s highest scoring offense, and the Niners closed the year with five straight wins after inserting Jimmy Garoppolo into the starting role. Don’t count the Seahawks out just yet. They may no longer be the Legion of Boom, but there is still plenty of talent in the Pacific Northwest. The Cardinals are undergoing changes after the retirement of Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer, leaving plenty of work to be done in the desert.
Los Angeles Rams -148
San Francisco 49ers +300
Seattle Seahawks +348
Arizona Cardinals +2250
The Rams didn’t just sit on their success from last season. Everything they accomplished during the regular year was wiped away in their first playoff game since the 2004 season, and their first in So Cal since the 1989 campaign. The Rams led the NFL in scoring with nearly 30 points per contest, but they tallied just 13 in losing to the Falcons in the Wild Card Round. Jared Goff looked like the franchise quarterback the team was looking for when drafting him first overall in 2016. He had a banner year throwing for over 3,800 yards with 28 touchdowns and only seven picks with a passer rating of 100.5.
The biggest threat, however, was Todd Gurley, who ran for 1,305 yards and 13 scores while adding another six scores on 64 pass receptions. With the offense in good hands, the Rams upgraded their defense, giving Wade Phillips more weapons to work with. Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib will man the corners and Ndamukong Suh will strengthen the interior. The Rams see a window of opportunity and they’re going for it. Continue
It’s amazing what a difference one man can make towards the fortunes of a team. Garoppolo was acquired mid-season and once he took over as the starter, the Niners went undefeated, winning their final five games. Usually a 6-10 record doesn’t make a team the second favorite to win the division the next year. But the Niners are counting on Garoppolo to continue winning ball games. He has yet to lose as a starter in the NFL and the club inked him to a big contract this offseason.
Not to burst the Niners’ balloon, but Garoppolo faced two horrible teams in Houston and Chicago, and Jacksonville was going through the motions after winning the AFC South. And a win over the Rams in the season finale was a glorified exhibition game. For the first time Garoppolo will enter the season as a full-time starter and the pressure only increases. Continue
With their run of five straight double-digit win seasons and playoff appearances coming to an end in 2017, things could be looking bad for the Seahawks. The Legion of Boom that carried the club to all that success was torn down with the departures of Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett, and injuries to Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril. The defense may slip a bit, but that was in the works for most of last season. And the Seahawks still have Russell Wilson at QB, who’s in the prime years of his career. It might be time for Wilson and the rest of the offense to carry the team after they were held together by the best D for several years. Continue
There isn’t much to get excited about in the desert. The coolest coach in the game retired after amassing the most wins in franchise history and the player who was behind center for most of those 49 victories also hung it up. Bruce Arians brought the team to respectability, winning a club record 13 games in 2015 with a trip to the NFC Championship. But the Cards failed to finish above .500 in the last two years and the grind took a toll on Carson Palmer. Sam Bradford is the new QB and David Johnson is back after his 2017 season ended prematurely. Steve Wilks takes over after coordinating Carolina’s defense last season. Continue
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Overview of what the National Football League AFC divisional teams added and lost in the off-season, along with witch 2018 AFC divisional teams will be tuff to beat. As well, a recap of last season and some wagering advice will also be included.
Overview of what the National Football League NFC divisional teams added and lost in the off-season, along with witch 2018 NFC divisional teams will be tuff to beat. As well, a recap of last season and some wagering advice will also be included.
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