The best division in football this season could be the NFC West as all four teams are good enough to make the playoffs but obviously will be beating up on each other plenty. Here’s a look around the division with NFL odds to win.
Will the NFC West be the best division this season?
Los Angeles Rams (+180)
Rams fans will have to wait until the regular season to get a look at new starting QB Matthew Stafford as Coach Sean McVay will not play him at all in the preseason. Stafford has had his ups and downs in training camp getting used to a new offense. Although Stafford is veteran with a dozen years’ worth of NFL experience, and wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods each have had four seasons in Sean McVay’s offense, it will still take time and reps together to develop the chemistry necessary to get this offense ready for the season. “It’s been great working with him. He’s a really a bright guy has great energy and knows how to command a room but at the same time he’s so approachable and everybody loves him,” Stafford said of McVay. “It’s really fun challenging each other. He’s trying to get the best out of me and I’m trying to get the best out of him. That kind of friendly fun competition and pushing each other is what it’s all about. I’m loving it.” Running back Raymond Calais will miss 4-6 months due to a broken foot. In the wake of Cam Akers’ Achilles tear, Calais was in contention for RB reps behind starter Darrell Henderson, but the injury suffered in Saturday’s preseason game is threatening to wipe out his entire 2021 campaign.
San Francisco 49ers (+180)
The 49ers will be without their best offensive lineman in Trent Williams for a bit but he should be ready for the regular season. The left tackle had his knee drained following a hit in practice last week. Williams graded out as the league’s best tackle in 2020, his first season spent with the 49ers following a holdout in Washington that ended with the trade that sent him out west. Williams was rewarded accordingly in March with a six-year, $138 million deal. Rookie QB Trey Lance has been getting some first-team reps but will not be the Week 1 starter barring injury to Jimmy Garoppolo. Meanwhile, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans believes star defensive end Nick Bosa will be better upon his return from a torn ACL in his left knee less than a year ago. “On the side, it looks really good — I’ll say that,” Ryans said of Bosa. “His drills and all the individual stuff that he’s doing, he’s looking fast, he’s looking explosive. So it’s just a matter of any time guys come off an injury, the biggest hurdle is just mentally.”
Seattle Seahawks (+275)
One issue hanging over Seahawks camp was All-Pro safety Jamal Adams holding out for a new contract, but he and the team agreed last week so all is well now. Adams got $70 million over four years that makes him the NFL’s highest-paid safety. The deal has a max value of $72 million over the four new years, a $20 million signing bonus and includes $38 million guaranteed. Adams was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2019 and has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the past three seasons. He set the league’s single-season record for sacks by a defensive back last season with 9.5. That figure led the team, as did his 14 tackles for loss and his 30 pressures. Seahawks WR John Ursua was carted off with a knee injury in the team’s second preseason game with a torn ACL. Ursua, a 2019 seventh-round pick, was competing for one of Seattle’s final receiver spots after spending last season on the practice squad.
Arizona Cardinals (+400)
Rookie wideout/returner Rondale Moore has been one of the talks of Cardinals camp. Moore secured three of five targets for 15 yards, rushed once for nine yards and returned one kickoff for 11 yards in the Cardinals’ 17-10 preseason loss to the Chiefs on Friday. Moore is primed to open the season potentially battling Christian Kirk for No. 3 receiver reps. Through the Cardinals’ two exhibition games, Moore has a total of nine targets, good enough to lead the team. Moore has also carried the ball three times, being the only receiver to touch the ball out of the backfield in either game for Arizona. When the Cardinals drafted Moore No. 49 overall in 2021 NFL Draft, it came with questions about his 5-foot-7, 180-pound frame. However, Moore was a proven playmaker while at Purdue. There is now reason to believe Moore can be the 2021 version of Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson and Dallas Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb, both of whom put together stellar rookie seasons with their respective teams.
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