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Breaking Down the NFC West for the 2018 NFL Season

NFL Betting: Breaking Down the NFC West for 2018

By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

This division seems to be in a state of flux the last few seasons. The Rams got back to the top of the division last season and remain favorites to repeat this season. But after a 9-win season with no playoffs, Seattle is stubbornly clinging to relevance. The 49ers finished last season strongly and have their QB and a team that is again on the rise. And while the Cardinals could struggle, they have enough new pieces and good remaining parts to warrant a hard look, as well. Let's try to break down the wild NFC West, along with our 2018 projected win total O/U picks.

Arizona Cardinals (8-8 last season)
Pros:
Get David Johnson back from injury
Exciting talent in place at QB with Bradford and rookie Rosen
Incoming receiver talent with Christian Kirk
Offensive line help
Went 8-8 with a lot going wrong last season
Lot of useful vets still in place
Schedule negotiable to begin the season
Defense great against run
Cons:
Lot of money given to injury-prone Sam Bradford
Is Steve Wilks up to snuff as head coach?
Hard to pinpoint what this team will look like
Health looms as a constant issue
Could be thin at playmaking in pass-catching corps
Fitzgerald needs help around him
Lot of rebuilding with players and coaching
Schedule very tough down the stretch, need a fast start
Lost a lot—QBs, coach, John and Jaron Brown, Bethel, and Mathieu
Appears to be a team in rebuild stage
Are they built to win now?
Loot's Pick for O/U Wins: Over 5.5 wins at -150. A lot of changes have occurred and no one really knows what this team will truly look like, but we feel there is nice enough mix of vets and youngsters to foster at least a 6-10 campaign in 2018.

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Los Angeles Rams (11-5 last season)
Pros:
Coming off a great season where things fell into place
More time could be good for coaching and key young players
Growing forces in Goff, Gurley, and others
Added a lot of juice in offseason on both sides of ball
Suh, Peters, and Talib boost an already-tough defense
Loaded roster packed with talent
Secondary should be a good and playmaking one
Added top receiver in Cooks
Great young coaching
They want to make a big move now
Lots of big-time talent on roster
Offense could get better after scoring over 30 per game
On paper, has the look of a Super Bowl team
Cons:
Did last season paint too favorable a light?
Were they too gung-ho in free agency?
Will all moves resonate as well as anticipated?
Not valued well at the book generally
New coaching on offense
Red-zone presence needs to improve
Draft was uninspiring
Tough spots on schedule
Linebacking corps not terribly formidable with no depth
Will baggage of Talib and Peters manifest?
Loot's Pick for O/U Wins: Over 10 wins at +105. All the changes might not register perfectly, but it's a rising team coming off a 11-win season and we see more of the same in '18.

San Francisco 49ers (6-10 last season)
Pros:
Finally found their quarterback in Garoppolo
Jimmy G beat three playoff teams down stretch, is 7-0 lifetime
Young talent on both sides of ball on the rise
Added key pieces like Richard Sherman, Jerick McKinnon, and rookie Dante Pettis
Growing forces on defense with Rueben Foster, Jaquisti Tartt, and others
Added top tackle in first round of draft
Massive turnaround after 1-10 start
Spent a lot of money to make impact in "win now" moves
Lost a lot of close ones last season, could have been different story
Fan support returned big-time late in the season, should carry over
Cons:
Did all money given Jimmy G stop them from other pursuits?
With dicey run-game and no big-name receivers, can Garoppolo thrive long-term?
Overrated with strong finish to season?
Are Niners asking for too many youngsters to blossom?
Lack of overall playmaking on both sides of ball?
Will a receiver manifest as a true number-one guy?
They warrant an anticipation of upswing, but this much?
Defense is strong in areas, not overall
Lot of questions along with the ample promise
Need a good start, winnable games late in season
Loot's Pick for O/U Wins: Under 8.5 at -105. We like the way they ended the season, but it seems like some have gotten carried away with the Niners' chances this season, as a lot of issues still exist across all areas of play.

Seattle Seahawks (9-7 last season)
Pros:
Still won 9 games with a lot going wrong
Wilson still a heck of a player
Still some pieces in place
Best QB in the division
Interesting youngsters on both sides of the ball
Locked in a good tackle in Duane Brown
Added some interesting lower-key pieces that could pay off
Penny could be RB they've been missing
Coach Carroll and Wilson can create something out of nothing
Draft could pay off nicely
Cons:
Lost core of defense
Too dependent on Wilson, leading rusher from '17
No line or run-game, that has to improve
Is Wilson getting battered too much over years?
Lost more than they gained personnel-wise
Contract issues with Earl Thomas
Need to find a new identity
Trying to buck inertia as team appears past its glory-period
Secondary no longer a team strength?
Is window of success closed?
Feels like they're heading downward
No real playmakers on offense
Will massive losses on defense resonate team-wide?
Has Carroll's message gone stale?
Tougher schedule than last season
Loot's Pick for O/U Wins: Under 8 at -125. We see a lot of their issues really manifesting this season, with a depreciated roster and lack of overall difference-makers on the roster. Bet this for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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