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2017 NFC West Predictions and Picks

2017 NFC West Picks and Predictions

By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

We see a little more separation between the "haves" and the "have-nots" in the NFC West division. Seattle continues to be the top dog in this division, with another title in 2016. They are the biggest favorites in the whole NFC to win their division—going off as the prohibitive -260 favorite. They have become a perennial conference contender and it's unclear why that status would change for the 2017 season. Still, last season we saw a lot of teams on a run of success fail to deliver, so who knows?

One of those teams was the Arizona Cardinals. Last season, they failed to follow up after getting to the conference title game the previous year. They had almost nothing go right, as the season seemed snake-bitten from the get-go. From an odds standpoint, they are Seattle's only legitimate obstacle in winning this division. They were 7-8-1 last season, but with a little luck, they look to be in better shape in 2017. At the back of the back are the LA Rams and the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams were 7-9 last season—not all that bad considering an utterly inept offense. And the Niners were mired in a 2-14 downward spiral that saw them in contention for being the worst team in the league.

Here are the odds to win the 2017 NFC West Division, followed by our team-by-team breakdown and NFC West pick:

Odds to Win the NFC East Division in 2017
Seattle Seahawks -260
Arizona Cardinals +265
Los Angeles Rams +2500
San Francisco 49ers +3750

A Word About the Odds: The biggest favorite to win a division in the conference, the Seahawks are -260. To win $100 on the Seahawks taking down the NFC West again, you would need to pony up $260. All the other teams, naturally, are underdogs to win the division. They are represented with a (+) sign, meaning the number you see is how much you win if you bet $100. Therefore, a $100 bet on the Cardinals would earn you $265 winnings if they won the division, while the same bet would yield $2500 on the Rams and $3750 on the 49ers. And the $100 reference is just to make it easy to understand, as you can bet any amount and the odds would just break down according to that amount.

Seattle Seahawks (-260): With 56 wins in the past 5 seasons, the Seahawks have maintained decently since getting to consecutive Super Bowls following the 2013-14 seasons. On one hand, teams can grow stale and it's not like there aren't issues on this team that could further materialize in a bad way. They probably wouldn't be able to withstand a bad injury to Wilson, the run-game needs to find its legs again, the O-line can't stink forever, and the defense needs to maintain its edge. Help is on the way in all those areas, with RB Eddie Lacy coming in from free agency, along with some draft picks that could surprise. After struggling to forge an identity during a transition period for the offense the past two seasons, we could see a more consistently-applied aerial attack and if Lacy delivers, it could take some pressure off a defense that might not be as good as it once was, but still has an awfully-high ceiling.

Arizona Cardinals (+265): Last season could be seen as an aberration or a sign of a cooling-down period for a team that looked on its way up a year prior. They were 34-14 combined the previous three seasons, before falling to 7-8-1 last year. Granted, a big part of their offensive core is getting old, namely Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald. After huge 2015 seasons, John Brown and Michael Floyd flattened out in 2016 for different reasons. But David Johnson has become a big weapon and the offense could get back on the right track this season with some more breaks falling their way. They got a couple good players on defense with first-rounder LB Haason Reddick and standout S Budda Baker. It's not an easy combination of factors to form a concrete pick, as which way the Cardinals go this season is really anybody's guess. Still, they are the rightful top Seattle spoiler candidate by a large margin and rightfully so.

Los Angeles Rams (+2500): On one hand, their defense was pretty darned good, especially considering how often they were hung out to dry with an offense that had almost nothing go their way. And one would figure that either Todd Gurley bounces back after a crummy sophomore jinx-type season or former first-pick Jared Goff blossoms, or maybe both. In free agency, they added some help for a young QB with a good tackle in Andrew Whitworth, along with useful WR Robert Woods. Still, Goff is pretty devoid of weapons, making it critical that a rookie, like TE Gerald Everett or receivers Copper Kupp, Josh Reynolds, or Samson Ebukam becomes a useful weapon. For as bad as they were at getting on the scoreboard, they still managed a 7-9 record and aren't as far off as some might think. Not the worst value at +2500 if you're inclined to look for long-shots.

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San Francisco 49ers (+3750): After a two-win season in 2016 and a total fall from grace the past few years, San Fran is pretty far down the list in terms of odds to win a division in the NFL this season. They are the longest shot in the conference and in a lot of ways it's easy to see why. The offense has had no identity or a cemented quarterback, while a once-proud defense is usually hanging on for dear life. The draft could produce a lot of help on the "D" with third pick DE Solomon Thomas and first-rounder LB Rueben Foster coming into the fold. Some needed aerial help arrived in free agency with Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin, along with a slew of other signings. With new head coach Kyle Shanahan and a lot of new faces, something different could materialize in San Francisco this season, but we'll wait and see.

Lootmeister's Pick to Win the NFC West Division in 2017: Seattle Seahawks

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