Are the Seattle Seahawks Locks in NFC West in 2017?
Despite claiming their third NFC West title in the last four years last season and being prohibitive favorites to win the division again in 2017, Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are looking to improve in a big way this coming season.
With the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers both in total rebuilding modes, the only real question about the NFC West this coming season is whether or not Carson Palmer can beat out Seattle for the division crown just like they did in 2015 when they snapped Seattle’s two-year reign as division champs.
Let’s find out now who’s going to come out on top in what is basically a two-team race for the NFC West title.
What Are The 2017 Odds To Win The NFC West?
Seattle Seahawks -350
The Seahawks (10-5-1 SU, 8-8 ATS) battled injuries all season long a year ago, but still managed to win reach the double-digit win mark to beat out second place Arizona for the division title by three games. Still, Seattle needs to improve on the offensive side of the ball after struggling mightily to both, run – and score the ball in 2016.
Seattle finished a mediocre 18th in scoring last season (22.1 ppg) and a dismal 25th overall in rushing (99.4 ypg) in their first season following the retirement of former running back Marshawn Lynch. Former backup Thomas Rawls was expected to seamlessly pick up where Lynch left off, but he – and Wilson battled injuries all season long and Seattle never got their offense in gear for very long.
The good news is that they signed veteran running back Eddie Lacy in free agency and improved their offensive line by signing veterans Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi in free agency while drafting free agency and drafted versatile LSU center Ethan Pocic in the second round.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 1, 2017
Not only that but Seattle was almost as dominant as ever on the defensive side of the ball after finishing 2016 ranked fifth in total defense in 2016 and third in points allowed (18.2 ppg). Despite their impressive defensive statistics last season, Seattle signed veteran defensive end David Bass, linebacker Arthur Brown, defensive end Dion Jordan and safety Bradley McDougald in free agency while drafting defensive tackle Malik McDowell in the second round, cornerback Shaq Griffin, safety Delano Hill and defensive tackle Nazair Jones all in the third round.
Arizona Cardinals +200
Simply put, head coach Bruce Arians is looking to get his Arizona Cardinals (7-8-1 SU, 6-10 ATS) back in the playoffs after having their two-year postseason run and three-year streak of winning double-digit games run come to an abrupt halt in 2016.
There’s plenty of reason to believe Arizona could do just that though, seeing as how Carson Palmer and company finished last season ranked an encouraging ninth in total offense and sixth in scoring (26.1 ppg) and have arguably the best dual-threat running back in the league in David Johnson, not to mention a still elite future Hall of fame wide receiver in veteran Larry Fitzgerald.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cardinals are looking to improve after finishing 14th in points allowed (22.6 ppg), although they did rank inside the top 10 against both, the run and pass. To improve their defense, the Cardinals drafted linebacker Hassan Reddick with the 13th overall pick and safety Budda Baker in the second round while signing veteran safety Antoine Bethea and brining back former linebacker Karlos Dansby. Seattle might be the favorite, but right now, it looks like the Cardinals will have a chance to pull off the division upset.
Los Angeles Rams +1425
The Rams are in full-fledged rebuilding mode after firing former head coach Jeff Fisher late last season and replacing him with the youngest head coach in league history in Sean McVay. Los Angeles really has nowhere to go but up after finishing the 2016 campaign ranked dead last in scoring (14.0 ppg) and 23rd in points allowed (24.6 ppg).
The Rams made a series of decent offseason moves that should help them improve in 2017, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. L.A. signed veteran center John Sullivan, left tackle Andre Whitworth and wide receiver Robert Woods in free agency and drafted tight end Gerald Everett and wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds to give quarterback Jared Goff some playmakers at the skill positions.
L.A. also brought in veteran linebacker/defensive end Connor Barwin, cornerbacks Nickell Robey-Coleman and Kayvon Webster and defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker in free agency to help improve a defense that wasn’t really awful last season considering the amount of time they were forced to spend on the field. I really like the Rams’ offseason moves and head coaching hire and believe they’ll be a lot better in 2017 than they were last season, although it certainly won’t be enough to overtake either Seattle or Arizona.
San Francisco 49ers +2500
The San Francisco 49ers are clearly heading in a new direction after hiring first-time GM John Lynch and brining in former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan as the team’s new head coach.
After ranking a dismal 27th in scoring a year ago (19.3 ppg), the Niners have an all new cast of quarterbacks, in veterans Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley and third round draft pick C.J. Beathard. San Francisco also signed running back Tim Hightower and veteran wide receivers Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson in free agency while drafting running back Joe Williams and wide receiver Trent Taylor in the third and fourth rounds respectively.
The Niners finished dead last in points allowed a year ago (30.0 ppg), but there’s hope moving forward after they drafted defensive end Solomon Thomas with the third overall pick in the draft and linebacker Reuben Foster with the 31st pick in the first round, although Foster was generally regarded as a top five pick before getting in off-field trouble prior to the draft to drop to No. 31.
After winning just two games in 2016, I think the Niners got almost all of their offseason moves right – except at quarterback, where I believe they should have drafted former Clemson superstar Deshaun Watson. Still, there’s nowhere to go but up for Frisco moving forward, although they won’t contend for much of anything in 2017.
NFC West Winner Pick
I’m going to advise you to back the Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC West division title for the second straight year based on the fact that they still have an elite defense and will almost assuredly be much better offensively in 2017 than they were a year ago. I do like Arizona’s chances of getting back into the playoffs in 2017, but right now, they look like they’re clearly a notch or two behind Seattle.
Pick: Seattle Seahawks