Spark Sports’ NFC West Season Preview

A full season of David Johnson, a new QB and new coach, the Arizona fans are hoping for a better season than last.

Odds: 

NFC WEST DIVISION WINNERS: +1200 (Bovada)

NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: +5500 (Bovada)

SUPER BOWL 53 CHAMPIONS: +15500 (Bovada)

Team Win Total: O/U 5.5 (Westgate)

Schedule: 

Week 1 vs. Washington (-1)
Week 2 @ Los Angeles (Rams) (+10.5)
Week 3 vs. Chicago (-1)
Week 4 vs. Seattle (PK)
Week 5 @ San Francisco (+7)
Week 6 @ Minnesota (+10.5)
Week 7 vs. Denver (+1.5)
Week 8 vs. San Fransisco (+1.5)
Week 9 BYE WEEK
Week 10 @ Kansas City (+6.5)
Week 11 vs. Oakland (+1)
Week 12 @ Los Angeles (Chargers) (+9)
Week 13 @ Packers (+11)
Week 14 vs. Detroit (-1)
Week 15 @ Atlanta (-7.5)
Week 16 vs. Los Angeles (Rams) (+3.5)
Week 17 @ Seattle (N/A)

Schedule Outlook

Another tough schedule, the division will be tough along with games against Bears, Vikings, Falcons, Packers, and Chiefs should be rough.

Key Team Additions and Subtractions 

Additions QB Sam Bradford, QB Mike Glennon, G Justin Pugh, T Andre Smith, DE Benson Mayowa, and CB Jamar Taylor

Subtractions – Qb Blaine Gabbert, Rb Kewynn Williams, BR Adrian Peterson, WR John Brown, WR Jaron Brown, G Aaron Boone, T Earl Watford, DE Josh Mauro, De Fostee Rucker, LB Karlos Dansby, CB Justin bethel, CB Tramon Williams, CB Tyvon Branch, and S Tyrann Mathieu

Draft – Qb Josh Rosen, WR Christian Kirk, C Mason Cole, RB Chase Edmunds, CB Chris Campbell, and T Korey Cunningham

Offense

Sam Bradford was benched after his injury in favor to Case Keenum in Minnesota. Bradford still is very talented and will be the best QB the Cards have had since younger Palmer.

David Johnson will return after missing all but a few snaps from last year. He is one, if not the most dynamic player in the game. Chase Edmonds will be his back up after having a huge career at Fordham.

Larry Fitzgerald gets older and older and yet he still continues to be a top WR. Kirk should be a nice compliment to him and get a healthy does of looks. Jermaine Gresham will be the starting tightend yet again.

The Cards will have a strong line have a nice overhaul of players coming in. Iupati is steady and the acquisitions of Smith and Pugh will help rookie center Cole adjust to the NFL.

Defense

Chandler Jones was a First Team All Pro and should continue that way this season. The rest of the line is a bit of a question mark.

Hasson Riddick shined as a rookie and should continue to grow in year two. Similar to the line there are some questions in the linebacking core.

Losing Mathieu will be a bit of a blow in the run support. However, Budda Baker was ALl Pro First Team as a rookie as well as All Rookie. Pair with Antonie Bethea and Patrick Robinson this secondary is a strong group. With the addition of Taylor, the secondary shouldn’t have any fall off.

Special Teams

Father Time Phil Dawson, continues to be consistent as a kicker. D.J. Foster and Patrick Robinson will be the returners this season and Andy Lee will be the punter of choice.

Outlook

The public is loving the Niners and Jimmy G but there is a ton of holes. Their running backs are terrible, the linbackers are one of the worst units in the NFL and the secondary is just as bad, especially if Richard doesn’t return to form.

Plays – 

Over 5.5

If Bradford is healthy, and DJ doesn’t get hurt again, this team will easily go over 5 wins. They should be closer to 7.5. This should go over the mark before week 12.


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Pete Carroll and Russel Wilson look to head back to the playoffs after a shaky year with locker room problems and o-line holes.

Odds: 

NFC WEST DIVISION WINNERS: +450 (Bovada)

NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: +2200 (Bovada)

SUPER BOWL 53 CHAMPIONS: +5500 (Bovada)

Team Win Total: O/U 9 (Westgate)

Schedule: 

Week 1 @ Oakland (+1.5)
Week 2 vs. Arizona (-10.5)
Week 3 vs. Los Angeles (Chargers) (-3.5)
Week 4 vs. Minnesota (-3)
Week 5 @ Seattle (-1)
Week 6 @ Denver (-2.5)
Week 7 @ San Francisco (-1)
Week 8 vs. Green Bay (-3)
Week 9 @ New Orleans (+2)
Week 10 vs. Seattle (-7)
Week 11 vs. Kansas City (-4.5)
Week 12 BYE WEEK
Week 13 @ Detroit (-2)
Week 14 @ Chicago (-2.5)
Week 15 @ Philadelphia
Week 16 vs. Kansas City (-3)
Week 17 vs. Arizona (N/A)

Schedule Outlook

The NFC West got tougher this season. Games against the Vikings and the Packers will be tough home games while a trip to NOLA, Detriot, and Denver won’t be easy.

Key Team Additions and Subtractions 

Additions – QB Nick Hundley, WR Jaron Brown, TE Ed Dickson, G D.J. Fluker, LB Barkevious Mingo, CB Dontae Johnson, and K Sebastian Janikowski

Subtractions – RB Thomas Rawls, WR Paul Richardson, TE Jimmy Graham, TE Luke Wilson, T Luke Joeckel,T Oday Aboushi, G Matt Tobin, DT Sheldon Richardson, DE Michael Bennett, CB Richard Sherman, CB Jeremy Lane, and S Kam Chancellor

Draft – RB Rashaad Penny, DE Rasheem Green, TE Will Dissly, LB Shaquem Griffin, CB Tre Flowers, P Michael Diskson, T Jamarco Jones, LB Jake Martin, and QB Alex McGough

Offense

Even without an offensive line, Russel Wilson still managed 3983 yards and 34 touchdowns (most in the NFL). The line may not get any better and the lose of Jimmy Graham could hurt some of his production.

First round pick Rasaad Penny is already hurt with a dislocated finger. The Hawks will turn to Chirs Carson as the lead back again. Carson showed potential but was limited to four games.

Doug Baldwin has been one of the best receivers in the game the past few years. Newly extended Tyler Lockett, has the potential to be a big game guy but there has only been flashes so far.

This line was really bad the last two years. Trading last year for Duane Brown should help and signing D. Fluker will help. This unit really does limit Wilson and the Seahawks ceiling.

Defense

Losing Michael Bennett looks like on the outside a big blow. However, Dion Jordan and Frank Clark looked really strong in their playing time and there is a reason they let Bennett go. With Jarran Reed, Nazzair Jones and Rasheem Green, this line should have a nice mix of youth and talent.

Bobby Wagner is arguably the best line backer not named Luke Kuechly. K.J. Wright is young and talented and will help bolster this group. Rookie Griffin and Barkevious Mingo will most likely rotate together which should create a strong unit.

Corner was a position of issue but Shaquill Griffin stepped up last season and showed he could be a gamer. Justin Coleman and Byron Maxwell should hodl the two other corner spots. Earl Thomas was Second Team All Pro and may not even be on the team to start the year. If he is he is a amazing saftey and will help Bradley McDougald in the backend of the secondary.

Special Teams

Tyler Locket was Second Team All-Pro in kick returns and will return to that role this season. New signing Janikowski will assume the kicker role and should help Seattle in that area.

Outlook

The team lost some well known players, but they also took out some tough locker room personalities. The players replacing them are lesser know but still productive. There isn’t going to be a huge fall off on defense from last season. The biggest problem form Seattle is the run game and o-line.

Plays – 

N/A

Nine wins is right on par with where they should land. There is upside to this team but they are too middle of the pack to make it a comfortable play either way.


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Jimmy Garoppolo for a second round pick could be the steal of the century. With a full season, the 9ers hope he can be the next big QB.

Odds: 

NFC WEST DIVISION WINNERS: +300 (Bovada)

NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: +1100 (Bovada)

SUPER BOWL 53 CHAMPIONS: +2000 (Bovada)

Team Win Total: O/U 8.5 (Westgate)

Schedule:

Week 1 @ Vikings (+4.5)
Week 2 vs. Detroit (-3.5)
Week 3 @ Kansas City (+3)
Week 4 @ Los Angeles (Chargers) (+3.5)
Week 5 vs. Arizona (-7)
Week 6 @ Green Bay (+4)
Week 7 vs. Los Angeles (Rams) (+1)
Week 8 @ Arizona (-1.5)
Week 9 vs. Oakland (-4)
Week 10 vs. New York (Giants) (-6.5)
Week 11 BYE WEEK
Week 12 @ Tampa Bay (-10)
Week 13 @ Seattle ( +1)
Week 14 vs. Denver (-4.5)
Week 15 vs. Seattle (-3.5)
Week 16 vs. Chicago (-6)
Week 17 @ Los Angeles (Rams) (N/A)

Schedule Outlook

The Cardinals, Hawks and Rams will all be tough divisional game. While Vikings, Chiefs, Chargers, Packers, Giants and Chicago should all be tough non-divisional games.

Key Team Additions and Subtractions 

Additions – C Weston Richburg, G Mike Person, G Johnathan Cooper, LB Korey Toomer, CB Richard Sherman, and P Jeff Locke

Subtractions – RB Carlos Hyde, G Brando Fusco, DE Aaron Lynch, LB Elvis Dumervil, S Eric Reid, CB Dontae Johnson, CB Leon Hall, and CB Asa Jackson

Draft – T Mike McGlinchey, WR Dante Pettis, LB Fred Warner,DB Tarvarius Moore, DE Kentavius Street, CB D.J. Reed, S Marcell Harris, DT Jullian Taylor and WR Richie James

Offense

Jimmy G looked like he could be very strong this next season in his short time with the 49er’s. He is touted by many as the next great QB1 in the league. There is a chance he makes that leap this season.

Jerrick McKinnon was signed but recently torn his knee and will be out for the season. Matt Breida will now be the lead back which isn’t a great site. Alfred Morris should help share some of the carries.

Marquise Goodwin looks like a breakout player. In camp its reported that him and G are connecting well. Pierre Garcon is a strong number two. George Kittle has the ability and athleticism to be one of the emerging tightends as well.

The Niners went out and add two vets to the line and drafted McGlinchey to protect their new QB. It looks like a strong line with veteran Joe Staley being a leader here.

Defense

Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas have the highest upside of any line. But in their firs full year together, Armstead was hurt and the other two barely showed anything. If those three can improve and Earl Mitchell holds his own, this could be a scary unit.

Outside of Ruben Foster this linebacking core is bad. Korey Toomer should help some but Dekoda Watson and Malcom Smith aren’t great. Weak core here and it only hurts that Foster is out.

The Niners secondary add Richardson who is recovering from an achillies tear, which may not be ready by week 1. Losing Eric Reid, their secondary will hurt. Ahkello Witherspoon could make a jump to being a strong corner but this should be one of the worst units that San Fran deploys.

Special Teams

Robbie Gould is a solid kicker but is aging. Victor Bolder and Dante Pettis will be the returners for the Niners.

Outlook

The public is loving the Niners and Jimmy G but there is a ton of holes. Their running backs are terrible, the linbackers are one of the worst units in the NFL and the secondary is just as bad, especially if Richard doesn’t return to form.

Plays – 

Under 8.5

This team has some talent and sure Jimmy could be a good QB. But for them to go over 8.5 wins, he has to be tier 1 and he simply is not. This teams backend of the defense is spotty and the tailback spot really will struggle.


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Sean McVay turned the Rams around in a hurry. With a already strong defense adding even more talent, is this team going to out play its last season.

Odds: 

NFC WEST DIVISION WINNERS: -160 (Bovada)

NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: +600 (Bovada)

SUPER BOWL 53 CHAMPIONS: +850 (Bovada)

Team Win Total: O/U 9 (Westgate)

Schedule:

Week 1 @ Oakland (+1.5)
Week 2 vs. Arizona (-10.5)
Week 3 vs. Los Angeles (Chargers) (-3.5)
Week 4 vs. Minnesota (-3)
Week 5 @ Seattle (-1)
Week 6 @ Denver (-2.5)
Week 7 @ San Francisco (-1)
Week 8 vs. Green Bay (-3)
Week 9 @ New Orleans (+2)
Week 10 vs. Seattle (-7)
Week 11 vs. Kansas City (-4.5)
Week 12 BYE WEEK
Week 13 @ Detroit (-2)
Week 14 @ Chicago (-2.5)
Week 15 vs. Philadelphia (-1)
Week 16 @ Arizona (-3.5)
Week 17 vs. San Francisco

Schedule Outlook

The NFC West got tougher this season. Games against the Vikings and the Packers will be tough home games while a trip to NOLA, Detriot, and Denver won’t be easy.

Key Team Additions and Subtractions 

Additions – WR Bradin Cooks, DE Ndamukong Suh, CB Marcus Peters, Cb Sam Shields and CB Aqib Talib

Subtractions – T Darrell Williams, WR Tavon Austin, DE Robert Quinn DE Connor Barwin, LB Cameron Lynch, LB Alec Ogletree, CB Trumaine Johnson, and S Cody Davis

Draft – T Joe Noteboom,C Brian Allen, DE John Franklin-Myers, LB Micah Kiser, LB Obo Okoronkwo,RB John Kelly, T Jamil Demby, DT Sebastian Joseph, DE Trevon Young, LB Travin Howard, and DE Justin Lawler

Offense

Jared Goff finished top 10 in yards, touchdowns and passer rating. He played much better under McVay, who gave him an easier offense, strong o-line and an MVP caliber player in Gurley. He could have a very similar year this year.

Todd Gurley did it all, second in rushing yards, first in rushing touchdowns, and second in receiving yards for a running back. He is a true cow-bell running back, nothing to say other than he is a stud.

Newly squired Bradin Cooks should be able to stretch the field better than Sammy Watkins. He closer to a number one option at the receiver spot. Robert Woods is a strong second option with Cooper Kupp a part of the All-Rookie team. All three are above average options for Goff to find. Tyler Higbee will man the tight end spot.

Andrew Whitworth was First Team All-Pro and Rodger Saffold was Second Team All Pro, which gives this unit up front time for Goff and Co to make plays. They were eighth least in pressures allowed. John Sullivan is a strong veteran center than can help Goff read defenses.

Defense

Ndamukong Suh will go from being a nose tackle to a 3 point stance guy next. He should still be a force alongside Michael Brockers and First Team All-Pro Aaron Donald. This is arguably the best d-line in the league.

Outside of Mark Barron, this linebacking core has lost a ton. Leadership and talent will be missing throughout this group could really hurt the Rams.

The secondary added to strong veterans in Peters and Talib, both can play man to man and lock down any player out there. LaMarcus Joynerwas franchised after having a strong showing. John Johnson will need to help the linebacking core with some high volume tackles.

Special Teams

Greg Zuerkein and Johnny Hekker were both First Team All-Pros at kicker and punter. While Pharoh Cooper was First Team All-Pro in kick returns and Second Team in punt returns.

Outlook

The team added some really good players on the defensive side with tough attitudes. However, they also lost some steady guys with strong locker room presence. This is a really good team and should compete once again for a championship but don’t be surprised if there is some bad blood on the team and it doesn’t shake out.

Plays – 

N/A

This team feels like it has the making of a Super Bowl contender, it also feels like it will crash and burn. There is a lot of hype and when teams add talent and lose leadership, it usually doesn’t play out as expected.


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