Part 3 of our 11 Part Series and today we focus on the NFC West.
ODDS TO WIN DIVISION:
LA Rams -130
San Francisco +150
This will be a tough division to call as we feel 2 teams are evenly matched and 1 has enough talent to win a division. We can throw out Seattle as they will have no chance to win the West, but this division will come down to the Rams and Niners with maybe Arizona having an outside shot if they survive the Hopkins suspension.
Obviously, the Rams are the defending champions and are bringing back a very good team, but their schedule is very tough. In fact, they have the toughest strength of schedule as their opponents this season had a .567 winning percentage last year.
Week 1 vs Buffalo will not be easy, and they have trips to Tampa Bay, Green Bay, and Kansas City as well. They also must play the Chargers, Cowboys, and Raiders along with Denver. Those are 8 tough games before they play 2 vs San Francisco and 2 vs Arizona. A trip to New Orleans won’t be easy as well.
Looking at the schedule for San Francisco, they can get off to a good 6 game start. The problem with this team is Trey Lance. Is he the answer for them or will he struggle as he hasn’t played much football in the past 2 years and didn’t compete at the highest level in College. He is a major unknown and it is had to trust him at this point. We aren’t saying he won’t develop into a great QB but we just don’t know that at the time of this writing.
Defensively, San Francisco will be stout and as we mentioned, those first 6 games they could easily be 5-1. At Chicago Week 1 should be an easy win and their home opener is vs Seattle in Week 2. In Week 3 they go to Denver then they are home on Monday night vs the Rams before heading east for 2 straight games against Carolina and Atlanta. They very well could be favored in 5 of those games. Then the schedule turns treacherous as they have KC, the Rams, the Chargers, Arizona, New Orleans, Miami and Tampa Bay over a 7 week stretch. That will make or break their season.
With that type of schedule, we don’t feel it is wise to back them with Trey Lance as their starter, but we expect them to make the playoffs as a wildcard.
Over to Arizona who we really did like until the Hopkins suspension. They could be staring 0-3 in the face as they open vs KC, at Las Vegas and then home against the Rams. They also have a brutal 8 week stretch to end the season as they only gimmie there might be the Falcons in Week 17. They have the talent and if they can somehow survive their first 6 games, they will be in the thick of it as the season ends but that is asking a lot of them.
The team with the fewest question marks in this division is Los Angeles. Yes, it’s a brutal schedule and yes everyone guns for the defending champs, but they have the best QB in the division (Stafford), the best coach in the division (McVay) and the 2 best defensive players in the division and arguably the best defensive player in the League.
It won’t be easy but the Rams should win this division at -130.