Football’s NFC West is home to the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals.
Entering the season, the 49ers are favorites to win the NFC, holding a slight edge over the New Orleans Saints. The Niners also have the third best odds to win the Super Bowl, behind just the AFC’s Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens. To get there, San Francisco will have to work their way through a tough division, one that last year saw three of its four teams win at least nine games.
The 49ers won that division, emerging as the surprise team of the year (they had won just four games the year prior). They went on to play in the Super Bowl, losing to the Chiefs. San Francisco had to get through a division that was competitive all year long as the Niners and Seahawks engaged in hard-hitting battles and jostled position at the top of the standings.
The NFC West was one of the best divisions in the NFL last year. Might the same be the case in 2020? Let’s take a look with our NFC West predictions, picks at the notable sportsbooks for Americans and full preview.
San Francisco 49ers
+900 with Bovada to Win Super Bowl; +450 to Win NFC; +105 to Win NFC West
Under the helm of head coach Kyle Shanahan and former New England Patriots’ backup quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, no one expected the 49ers to cruise through one of the toughest schedules in football en route to the best record in the NFC. San Francisco won 13 games last season as well as the NFC Championship. While the 49ers ultimately lost to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, the talent of this team hasn’t gone away and there is no doubt they are even hungrier than before to complete their championship journey in 2020.
One of the biggest surprises of last season was running back Raheem Mostert, who caught fire late in the year and projects this year to be a top-five rusher in the entire league. Then there is Nick Bosa, who was the defensive rookie of the year last season and should only continue to improve as he gets more snaps under his belt. Bosa led a defense that was one of the best in the NFL and fortunately for the Niners, the entirety of that corps will be returning for the 2020 campaign.
Garoppolo should have another solid campaign as well, leading a mostly unchanged offense hopefully back to the promised land. All signs point to the Niners being the best in the West again, but will that be enough for them to make the rare Super Bowl return and perhaps even win it this time? After all, they had their chances to do so last year and largely controlled the game through the first three quarters.
+2000 Super Bowl; +1000 NFC; +230 NFC West with Bovada
Last year, the Seahawks proved that despite losing a ton of their defensive talent over the years since their last Super Bowl appearance, Russell Wilson is still a guy who can lead this team to success. Seattle won 11 games and did so without giving Wilson much to work with. Now a long-tenured veteran QB in this league, does Wilson still enough left in him to help the Seahawks regain their hold on the NFC West?
It will be tough but the Seahawks did make an effort to give Wilson some help, bringing in tight end Greg Olsen to help out Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf in the passing game. Another player to keep an eye on is running back Rashaad Penny, who if healthy, should play a bigger role in the running game, one that will benefit the team as a whole.
Chris Carson is still the guy in Seattle but the more the team can load the box, the better it will be for Wilson as he is still one of the better running QBs in the league when given the space and opportunity to do so. Defensively, the Seahawks look pretty good as well. Overall, they are a good team, but it will take great not good to unseat the 49ers. We can back a bet on Seattle returning to the postseason as a wildcard but still look for the Niners to win the divisional crown.
Los Angeles Rams
+4000 Super Bowl; +2500 NFC; +500 NFC West with Bovada
It wasn’t that long ago that the Rams were the class of the NFC, playing in their own Super Bowl behind new head coach Sean McVay and young talented QB Jared Goff. The team had only just relocated to LA a few years prior and time in California seemed to be paying dividends for the Rams.
Ever since losing Super Bowl LIII to the New England Patriots, things haven’t gone the way the Rams would have hoped. Winning nine games, this was actually considered a disappointment for LA as they had lofty expectations that just weren’t met.
Entering 2020, it seems the team is a little more realistic about their prospects as the Rams lost a lot this offseason, particularly in their defensive unit. Offensively, the Rams will do without Brandin Cooks and Todd Gurley, though the latter was mostly ineffectual last year. Overall, LA lost a lot and enters this season with less talent than they did a year prior. It is hard to imagine the Rams take that much of a huge leap forward in 2020, as middle of the road in the NFL seems more likely to be the result once again this year.
+5000 Super Bowl; +2500 NFC; +600 NFC West with Bovada
That leaves the Arizona Cardinals. Entering this season as the second under new coach Kliff Kingsbury, the Cardinals are hoping to continue to make improvements for their air raid offense. Arizona managed to establish their offensive identity, though perhaps as expected, there were some growing pains. In 2020 however, the Cardinals enter the season with DeAndre Hopkins in tow, one of the best deep ball receiving threats in football. This is huge for Kyler Murray, who will be looking to continue to grow in just his second year in the league. Murray now has a fantastic group of receivers headlined by Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. He also has a nice dual-threat running back in Kenyon Drake. The weapons are there for Murray to have a really good year and that’s something Cardinals fans should be excited for.
Defensively, the Cardinals also made some improvements as they are turning the corner from rebuild to competitive again. Look for Arizona to see an uptick in wins as they will battle LA for the third spot in the West. In the coming years, who knows just how good the West will be when the Cardinals return to being bona fide contenders once more.
Our NFC West Predictions for this NFL Preview
- Returning to the championship stage may not be on the cards based on our predictions, but we can bank a bet for San Francisco 49ers to repeat as NFC West champs @ best odds of +112 with 5Dimes (+110 Intertops, +105 Bovada, BetOnline, +100 Bookmaker), as they are built well to return to the postseason.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.