While the Arizona Cardinals won the NFC West last season, oddsmakers everywhere are apparently expecting Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks to regain division supremacy and bag their third division title in the last four years.
Thanks to the fun-filled analysis you’re about to get on the NFC West, you’re going to have a great idea of just which Super Bowl title hopeful will bring home the bacon and cash in on their odds to win the NFC West in 2016. Okay, with that said, let’s get started.
Early 2016 NFC West NFL Betting Prediction – Will Seahawks or Cardinals Soar in 2016?
Seattle managed to win 10 games last season, but finished second in the NFC West and got bounced out of the playoffs in a one-and-done postseason run that finished far earlier than they hoped. Now the Seahawks will look to get back on top in their division and compete for their second Super bowl title in the last four seasons. However, they will do so without star running back Marshawn Lynch following his unexpected retirement.
The good news is that this team is built for long-term success with many of its most valuable core players returning for the foreseeable future. Seattle added tackle Germain Ifedi in the first round, defensive tackle Jarran Reed in the second round and running back C.J. Prosise in the third round. All three players are expected to play immediately with Reed, likely starting at nose tackle. Seattle also brought in veteran defensive end Chris Clemons and cornerback Brandon Browner in free agency and has a fairly easy schedule in 216 that I believe will result in a dozen wins and the NFC West crown in 2016.
Arizona Cardinals (9.5)
The Arizona Cardinals has a fantastic 13-win season in 2015, but they fell short of reaching Super Bowl 50 and enter 2016 with an even greater sense of urgency, seeing as how veteran quarterback Carson Palmer is aging faster than an octogenarian approaching his next birthday. Still, I see no reason why the Cards won’t win at least 11 games in 2015 under widely-respected head coach Bruce Arians.
Arizona added standout defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche in the first round of the NFL Draft before adding cornerback Brandon Williams and center Evan Boehm with their next two picks.
The Cards also added veteran offensive lineman Evan Mathis in free agency and will again have one of the best defenses in the league next season. Reaching the postseason is fine and well, but for Arizona, anything less than an appearance in Super Bowl 51 will be a failure. While it could happen, right now, I’ve got the Cardinals finishing second to Seattle in the NFC West with 11 victories.
Los Angeles Rams (7.0)
I think its all fine and well that Los Angeles got quarterback Jared Goff with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, but I think the Rams are making a mistake by not starting over with another head coach not named Jeff Fisher. If you didn’t know, the Rams have never won more than seven games in four seasons under Fisher. More importantly, seven of Fisher’s last 11 seasons have produced losing campaigns.
The Rams had a modest free agency and may have missed out on an opportunity to address more than one position by drafting two tight ends with their next three picks. Tough non-division matchups against Carolina and New England, among others, combined with their four division dates against Seattle and Arizona lead me to believe the Rams are looking at a half-dozen wins at best in 2016!
San Francisco 49ers (5.0)
Despite his widely-publicized failures in the City of Brotherly Love, the San Francisco 49ers made Chip Kelly their new head coach after a disastrous five-win season and last place finish in the NFC West a year ago. The good news is that Kelly is an offensive genius, but the bad news is that enigmatic quarterback Colin Kaepernick doesn’t want to play in Frisco anymore and the Niners have holes on both sides of the ball.
San Francisco did get one of the best players in the NFL Draft in immediate-impact defensive end DeForest Buckner while addressing their needs on both lines by nabbing three offensive lineman and one more defensive lineman in their fist six picks. The Niners were quiet in free agency and have a long way to go to get back to respectability in 2016. Still this will be a fun team to watch next season in Kelly’s up-tempo offense, even if they don’t win more than six games at best!