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Odds Favor 49ers to Win NFC West
Preview - Picks - Analysis
The NFC West is perhaps the most wide open division in the National Football League. Recent years have seen the Arizona Cardinals thrive, but the days of the San Francisco 49ers may be back. The Seattle Seahawks are not without hope under new coach Pete Carroll. The St. Louis Rams will have a rough time this year, but they are making strides for the future. Let's analyze the NFC West and its teams hopes for the 2010 season!
The following Odds to win the NFC West are courtesy of Top Rated Football
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San Francisco 49ers - (Odds to win NFC West -130) Coach Mike Singletary has finally turned this team into a winner after finishing 2009 with a record of 8-8. They have great threats on offense in TE Vernon Davis and WR Michael Crabtree. Both are highly athletic and will be stars in the NFL. QB Alex Smith is finally starting to come along. The Utah alum will do very well this year thanks to a strong offensive line and a backfield that can be pressure off his ability to throw the ball. That backfield includes Frank Gore. He is one of the best in the NFL at what he does, but he will have to stay healthy.
The defense in San Fran features Aubrayo Franklin. The big 317-pound NT commands double teams and frees up space for the linebackers in this 3-4 setup. Parys Haralson and Manny Lawson will be playmakers at the LB position. The offense has new weapon in WR Ted Ginn Jr. The former Ohio State Buckeye wasn't too great in Miami, but new surroundings could be all that he needs to become a force at his position. With his speed anything in possible. The 49ers are undoubtedly the team to beat in the NFC West.
Arizona Cardinals - (Odds to win NFC West +200) This franchise has experienced unprecedented success in recent years. Just two season ago they reached their first Super Bowl. Last year they were able to win a playoff game. 2010 could be the year in which they come back to Earth. Starting QB Kurt Warner is now retired. Warner was extremely important to this offense. Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart will take over. It's tough to know how he will fare, but if past performance is any indicator then the Cardinals could be in trouble. WR Anqouin Bouldin is also gone. LB Carlos Dansby and S Antrel Rolle are also gone. Overcoming so many loses won't be easy.
The offense still has bright spots. WR Larry Fitzgerald is arguably the best in the league at his position. RB Beanie Wells has a year under his belt and could be ready for a big year. WR Steve Breaston can pick up some of the slack that Bouldin left. If Leinart struggles then backup Derek Anderson has shown potential in the past. The defense brings in LB Joey Porter who is a mean and effective tackler. In any other division this team would be in big trouble, but in the NFC West they can be effective.
Seattle Seahawks - (Odds to win NFC West +350) Pete Carroll is back in the NFL after what some would call a mediocre first try. His best year with the Patriots was a 10-6 season. He will have a lot to do managing the front office and coaching simultaneously. The running game in Seattle looks good with Julius Jones and Justin Forsett forming a powerful 1-2 punch. QB Matt Hasselbeck is getting old, but he is still an effective starter. He should make better use of WR TJ Houshmanzadeh this year.
St. Louis Rams - (Odds to win NFC West +2500) OK, so last year was rough. This year will be just as rough. The Rams have reasons to be happy though. QB Sam Bradford is going to be a franchise player for years to come. Young players like Long, Laurinaitis, and Gilyard means the future is bright. The future is not 2010 though.
Let's put the Rams aside for a minute. They have the toughest road to success in the NFC West currently. They have won 6 games in 3 years. They'll improve, but not enough to win the West. Take your pick between the other three however. Sure the Cards are going to be down a notch or two, but 8-8 could win this division. With that being the case the 49ers were 8-8 a year ago, and the Seahawks were 5-11. Gotta figure Carroll is worth 3 more wins for Seattle. The 49ers look like the pick here. Of all the contenders, they are the most stable and have the most pieces in place from a year ago.
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