NFC West - What You Need To Know
Los Angeles Rams
-Record Last Year 13-3; Lost in Super Bowl to Patriots
-Season Win Total 10.5 +110, -130
-Odds to win NFC West -180
-Odds to win NFC +450 co-favorites with Saints
-Odds to win Super Bowl 9-1
-Odds to make Playoffs -250
-Isn't it funny how easily the public perception of someone can change just based on 1 game? All off-season I've been hearing how teams have "figured out" Sean McVay, and he'll have to adjust his offensive schemes based on what Bill Belichick did to him in the Super Bowl. I don't think it's anywhere near that drastic. Remember, the game prior to the Super Bowl, McVay and Goff were carving up Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints in the dome.
-The 'secret' seems to be out on Todd Gurley. They are definitely planning on resting him some this season, in hopes of preserving his arthritic knee for a potential playoff run. That's why their season win total did take some Under money initially once that came out.
-Like the Saints, the Rams also lost their starting Center James Sullivan, and that often makes much more of a difference than most people think--The Center being responsible or the line calls, much like the Middle Linebacker on the defensive side.
-One thing I look at with Goff and the Rams is the cold weather schedule. We know Goff hates it, and performs poorly in it vs warm weather. We all remember the Bears game last year--That said, he and the Rams play only 1 cold weather game all year, that's November 10th at Pittsburgh. The away games after that in November and December are at Arizona, Dallas, and San Francisco.
-The Super Bowl hangover. It's been a very real thing the last decade...Also, they were +11 in turnover differential last year, so do expect some regression there.
-Record Last Year 10-6; Lost Wildcard game to Dallas
-Season Win Total 8.5 -140, +110
-Odds to win NFC West +275
-Odds to win NFC 14-1
-Odds to win Super Bowl 30-1
-Odds to make Playoffs +130
-I think this defense still gets a lot of credit from the Legion of Boom days and that's simply yesterday's news. Gone are Earl Thomas and Frank Clark. They brought in Zeke Ansah from Detroit but he's been a shell of his former self. They were middle of the pack last year defensively, giving up a little over 21ppg.
-They do face the 25th easiest schedule in the league last year, however they were +15 in turnovers last year which will regress, and I would argue offensively they may not be as good last year. They lose Doug Baldwin who I think is extremely underrated, and Rashard Penny, their 1st round pick hasn't impressed me. Excect a huge year from Chris Carson...
-We're starting to see what happens when you have to pay your QB. There's not as much money to go around and this team has regressed ever since then. It's why it's so important for teams like the Cowboys and the Rams to have success when their QBs are still on their rookie deals.
San Francisco 49ers
-Record Last Year 4-12; Missed Playoffs
-Season Win Total 7.5 -160, +120
-Odds to win NFC West 5-1
-Odds to win NFC 14-1
-Odds to win Super Bowl 40-1
-Odds to make Playoffs +215
-It's rare without any major changes that you see a team that won 4 games with a season win total around 8 the following year. That's how highly the market thinks of Jimmy G, and also the regression that professionals see in their turnover differential. This team was -25 in turnover differential last year..the 2nd worst team was Tampa Bay with -18. So that will definitely improve this season for starters...
-I love this team on paper. I think Shanahan is great, and last year had Jimmy G not gotten hurt, I think this team was more like a .500 team in just his 2nd season.
-Any and all stats from last year with San Francisco, I'm essentially throwing out, except for the penalties. They were 4th worst in the NFL 2 years ago and 7th worst last year--that's coaching and that's discipline...Must get that addressed.
-I kept hearing how bad Jimmy G was in the 1s preseason game. Remember, this is a guy coming off a torn ACL, not really playing at true game speed in over a year. He'll be fine. I think when healthy he's a top 10 QB, arguably top 5. Given a full year of health and now fully understanding Shanahan's system, I think the sky is the limit for the 49ers this season IF they can cut back on the penalties and the turnovers.
-Record Last Year 3-13; Missed Playoffs
-Season Win Total 5 -140, +110
-Odds to win NFC West 25-1
-Odds to win NFC 50-1
-Odds to win Super Bowl 125-1
-Odds to make Playoffs +700
-I'm still blown away by the Kliff Kingsbury hire. This is a guy who was under .500 at Texas Tech during his career there, but had the reputation as this offensive genius, even though the numbers don't back that up. Even more so than the Bengals hire of Zac Taylor, this hire is this biggest product of a league that wants to find the next Sean McVay, and teams proving they will do whatever they have to in order to get that.
-In the preseason he's come out and said they have been going very vanilla, not wanting to show much, so we're going to get a true sense for what this team is all about Week 1 vs the Lions. I think this may have actually been the reason some Under money has come in for that game.
-In terms of Kyler Murray--I like him. He's a winner, he seems to me to have that "It" factor. All reports out of camp are that he's a hit in the locker room, and guys are already buying in compared to this time last year.
-Defensively they will struggle again. 26th in ppg allowed last year, and they face the 12th hardest Strength of Schedule in the entire league, and hardest schedule of opposing offenses. Also, having to face Russell Wilson, Jimmy G, and Jared Goff 6 times during a season won't help those numbers.