NFC West Preview, by PredictionStrike!
We're continuing our summer camp tour with the NFC West this week! With July 4th in the rearview mirror, our eyes are now locked into Labor Day weekend!
The NFC South is not as wide open as it has been in years past, but regardless the rivalry amongst the teams will likely keep it closer than we all expect.
The Arizona Cardinals are by and large the least likely team to win this division. With Kyler Murray ($3.69) not likely to take a snap in the first month they're essentially playing games with one arm tied behind their back. Deandre Hopkins ($4.00) is now gone which leaves us with Marquise Brown ($1.62) as the lone alpha in this offense. If they are going to stand any chance this season it'll likely have to be done with a strong ground game led by James Conner ($3.81).
Conner is capable of producing for this team, but he's likely going to miss 4-5 games as well if given the lead role in this offense. However, if he can stay healthy until Kyler Murray is back in the lineup then maybe this team could surprise us all. This would likely also require a player like Rondale Moore ($2.13) to be a difference-maker as well once Kyler is back. I give the Cardinals a 1% chance to win the division this year.
Consider me a pessimist for the Seattle Seahawks and Geno Smith ($1.28). Many believe that last year was not a fluke and Geno has potential for his job for the long haul. I'm not buying that, and believe the confidence they have in Geno is going to ultimately cost Pete Carroll his job come the end of the season. This offense is predicated on running the ball and is going to rely upon Kenneth Walker ($6.04) and rookie Zach Charbonnet. I think that teams are going to focus on stopping the run and having Geno Smith beat them passing the ball this coming season. If he fails, as I suspect is more likely than not, that would spoil any investments in DK Metcalf ($4.04) and Tyler Lockett ($5.48). I give the Seahawks a 10% chance of winning the division this year and honestly don't see them making the wild card either.
This leaves us with two teams who I think have shots of winning the division. I think the Rams are the least popular team to be in this conversation, but if Matthew Stafford ($3.34) can come back at full strength they are still alive. Stafford might be the 3rd best quarterback in the division. We shouldn't forget that they still have Cooper Kupp ($14.11) and are bringing back Cam Akers ($6.30) for better or worse. The longer Dalvin Cook ($3.11) and Deandre Hopkins ($4.00) remain free agents the more enticing the Rams become as landing spots based on their history. If Stafford is healthy and effective, Les Snead is going to have a hard time not putting his chips in for another championship with Aaron Donald still haunting opposing offenses. In all, I'd give the Rams a solid 30% chance of pulling off the division title.
Lastly, San Francisco and Brock Purdy ($1.43) are still the favorites to take the division championship again. Drafting Mr. Irrelevant and possibly hitting on him is going to keep them as one of the most talented rosters I have seen in quite some time. With Christian McCaffrey ($17.64), Deebo Samuel ($2.62), and George Kittle ($4.34) this offense has no shortage of talent and still employs one of the best play-callers in the NFL. I think they have over a 60% of winning this division, especially considering their depth at multiple positions. This division isn't too exciting yet but has some potential to be especially if Stafford is at full strength this coming season!
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Justin Andrew & The PredictionStrike Team