Can the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers repeat as, both, NFC West and conference champs in 2020? After nearly sweeping the Niners a year ago while recording 11 wins, are the Seattle Seahawks ready to get back on top in the loaded division? Could the L.A. Rams take a step forward after taking two back a year ago? Last, but not least, are Kyler Murray, Kliff Kingsbury and the mostly young Arizona Cardinals poised to surprise in a big way after their successful first season together a year ago? With the 2020 NFL regular season set to get underway in a mere matter of weeks, let’s find out what the likely scenario is for NFL futures odds bettors in the NFC West heading into 2020 so you can place your bets against their odds to win the NFC West division.
2020 NFL Odds & Picks for NFC West: Title winner, favorites, surprise, upset
San Francisco 49ers -110
The Niners went 13-3 last season and were outstanding on both sides of the ball a year ago in finishing the 2019 campaign ranked second in scoring (29.9 ppg) and eighth in points allowed (19.4 ppg). San Francisco has a powerful rushing attack that finished second in yards per game and they have a pair of legitimate superstars in tight end George Kittle and defensive end Nick Bosa. The Niners parted ways with defensive tackle DeForest Buckner but added South Carolina defensive end Javon Kinlaw with the 14th overall pick in the draft and Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk with the 25th overall pick. Frisco also re-signed safety Jimmy Ward and defensive end Arik Armstead and will enter the 2020 season almost intact from the same unit that reached Super Bowl 54. The biggest question for me is whether or not Jimmy Garoppolo can go from good to great.
Seattle Seahawks +200
Seattle went 11-5 last season, but the Seahawks were just one yard short of sweeping the 49ers and taking the division title. Seattle finished the 2019 campaign ranked ninth in scoring (25.3 ppg), but an uninspiring 22nd in points allowed (24.9 ppg). To address their needs, the Seahawks selected Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks with the 27th overall pick in the draft and defensive end Darrell Taylor in the second round. Seattle picked up veteran tight end Greg Olsen, tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, tackle Brandon Shell and wide receiver Phillip Dorsett in free agency while re-signing defensive end Bruce Irvin and tight end Luke Willson in free agency. Veteran quarterback Russell Wilson is a superstar of the highest order and Seattle has some Pro Bowl talent in running back Chris Carson (1,230 yards) and veteran wide receiver Tyler Lockett (1,255 yards). Oh yeah…Seattle is also led by a future Hall of Famer head coach in Pete Carroll.
LA Rams +550
Change is in the air for Sean McVay and the L.A. Rams heading into 2020. One year after reaching Super Bowl 53, the Rams suffered the proverbial Super Bowl hangover by going 9-7 last season. Still, L.A. finished a solid 11th in scoring (24.6 ppg) and respectable 17th in points allowed (22.8 ppg). The Rams did struggle to run the ball in finishing 26th while also struggling to stop the run defensively. Los Angeles did make a series of roster-altering changes, starting with their jettisoning of former franchise running back Todd Gurley and veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks. L.A. picked Florida State running back Cam Akers with the 52nd overall pick and Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson with the 57th overall pick while picking Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis and Utah safety Terrell Burgess, both in the third round. The Rams also replaced linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. by signing veteran Leonard Floyd in free agency while also adding defensive tackles Michael Brockers and A’Shawn Robinson, along with tackle Andrew Whitworth in free agency.
Arizona Cardinals +600
Arizona went 5-10-1 last season, but it was the most encouraging five-win season I’ve ever witnessed. First-time head coach Kliff Kingsbury and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray both had fantastic campaigns as the cards played hard for Kingsbury in every single game and Murray won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award by throwing for 3,722 yards with 20 TD passes and 12 interceptions. Arizona finished the 2019 campaign ranked 17th in scoring (22.6 ppg) and an encouraging 10th in rushing, thanks to the late-season contributions of clearly underrated running back Kenyan Drake. The Cardinals struggled mightily on defense in finishing dead last in total defense and 28th in points allowed (27.6 ppg). To address their needs on offense, Arizona completely suckered Houston’s Bill O’Brien to get superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for aging running back David Johnson while using their transition tag on Drake. More importantly, Arizona addressed their defensive issues nicely by drafting Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons with the eighth overall pick while signing linebackers De’Vondre Campbell and Devon Kennard and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips in free agency. Make no mistake about it, Arizona is moving in a positive direction heading into Year 2 of the Murray/Kingsbury era.
The Niners are loaded and the prohibitive favorite to claim consecutive NFC West division titles, but I genuinely believe Seattle will challenge them for conference supremacy again in 2020 even if a lot of other ‘experts’ have already penciled in the Niners as division champs. I like Arizona to approach .500 this coming season while the Rams finish right around the same 9-7 mark they recorded last season. I’m going with Seattle as my upset pick while Arizona surprises in a big way. The Seahawks have the best quarterback and head coach in the division and I believe their offseason upgrades on defense will led them to the division upset. Frisco might be favored in the NFC West, but I’m going with Seattle for the stunning upset as Russell Wilson unleashes a campaign for the ages – again!
2020 Division Finish: Seattle, San Francisco, Arizona, LA Rams