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NFC West: Los Angeles Rams Favored by Odds Makers

August 27, 2018

One of the NFL’s most competitive divisions will be the NFC West. The Los Angeles Rams won the division last season and are a slight favorite (-105) to win it this season, while the San Francisco 49ers (+190) are a close second.

The balance of power has shifted as the Seattle Seahawks ruled the divisions for several seasons but are no better than third-best (+335) in odds this season. The Arizona Cardinals are considered the long shot at (+1250).

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams were 11-5 a season ago and return the same skill position players with quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley II and wide receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. The Rams added wide receiver Brandin Cooks from New England. Cooks will stretch the field and gives the Rams a legitimate deep threat.

The big change for the Rams was on the defense. The Los Angeles defense added defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh and defensive back Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. If the three can mesh with the other players on defense and defensive star Aaron Donald finally agrees to a new contract, the Rams defense could be one of the NFC’s best.

San Francisco 49ers

Last season San Francisco was 6-10, but was 5-0 in the final five games after Jimmy Garoppolo took the reins at quarterback following a trade with New England. The running game was given a boost during the offseason with the signing of Jerick McKinnon from Minnesota. The 49ers receivers are a solid group led by Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon, while the offensive line added Jonathan Cooper and Weston Richburg.

The worry is on defense. Not many improvements were made to the No. 24 ranked defense except for signing veteran defensive back Richard Sherman.

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle relied too much on the running ability of quarterback Russell Wilson rather than his throwing ability. Wilson led the Seahawks in rushing and for the team to win, Wilson needs to pass first and run second. The offensive line gave up 43 sacks and only added D.J. Fluker from the Giants during the offseason.

Rashaad Penny was drafted at running back and the talented Chris Carson will return from an injury. The Seahawks have Doug Baldwin one of the league’s top receivers but lost tight end Jimmy Baldwin.

The defense is completely different than the past few years as several players are gone such as Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals were 8-8 last season and will have a new quarterback this season. Sam Bradford should start at quarterback, but rookie sensation Josh Rosen will be pushing him for playing time. Larry Fitzgerald returns at wide receiver, but he is getting up there in age, so Christian Kirk was drafted and Brice Butler picked up from Dallas. Running back David Johnson is once again healthy and gives the Cardinals a solid running game.

Last season the defense was poor but have All-Pros Budda Baker at safety and Chandler Jones at linebacker to build around.

Prediction: Rams win division with 12-4 record

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