Seahawks favored to win NFC West
Even though the Arizona Cardinals are the defending NFC West champs, the Seattle Seahawks are favored to win the division in 2016.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Seahawks are -110 to win the NFC West this upcoming season, while the Cardinals currently have odds of +140. The Los Angeles Rams, meanwhile, are +750 to win the division while the San Francisco 49ers have the longest odds at +2000.
The biggest question in Seattle is how the Seahawks will look without running back Marshawn Lynch, who retired this offseason. But with Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin and a (hopefully) healthy Jimmy Graham, the offense should have enough talent to be dangerous. Plus, if Thomas Rawls bounces back after fracturing his ankle in December, then the Hawks' running back shouldn't miss a beat. C.J. Prosise was also drafted in the third round by Seattle, and fifth-rounder Alex Collins has drawn headlines this offseason as well.
Of course, you can't talk about the Seahawks without mentioning their defense. Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are all back, plus the unit played better in the second half once new DC Kris Richard settled into the position once held by Dan Quinn (who took over as head coach of the Falcons). The Seahawks defense should be firing on all cylinders right out of the gates next season.
The Cardinals still remain the Seahawks biggest threat in the division. Bruce Arians has done a fantastic job turning Arizona into a perennial contender but you have to wonder if Carson Palmer can repeat what he did in the regular season last year. At least Palmer won't have a shortage of weapons, as Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown, David Johnson and Chris Johnson are all back. The defense also added a major piece this offseason when the front office traded for pass-rusher Chandler Jones. If Tyrann Mathieu can stay healthy, Arizona's defense could once again be a top 10 unit.
As for the Rams, they have a new home and a new quarterback, but the same lame duck head coach that hasn't posted a winning season since taking over in 2012. Jared Goff is talented enough to start right away for L.A. but he has limited weapons around him outside of stud running back Todd Gurley. Tavon Austin is a homerun threat every time he gets the ball but there's not much else around him in the passing game.
On defense, the Rams parted ways with long-time veterans James Laurinaitis and Chris Long, plus lost cornerback Janarois Jenkins and safety Rodney McLeod in free agency. If E.J. Gaines bounces back after suffering a season-ending injury in training camp last year, the cornerback spot might take a huge dip but Cody Davis will have growing pains trying to fill the all-important free safety role under DC Gregg Williams. Still, the pass-rush is fierce thanks to Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn. Alec Ogletree will provide more athleticism than Laurinaitis in the middle, too.
Finally, the 49ers are in the midst of a rebuild under new head coach Chip Kelly. It's unclear as of this writing whether or not Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick will start at quarterback, but the team has issues outside of signal-caller. The defense lost too much talent a year ago and it'll take time for Kelly to replace what was lost. At least the front office has invested first-round picks in DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Jimmie Ward and Eric Reid over the last four years. We'll see if that young talent all gels together in Kelly's first year.
2016-17 NFC West Odds to Win
Seattle Seahawks -110
Arizona Cardinals +140
Los Angeles Rams +750
San Francisco 49ers +2000