Collectively, the four NFC West teams have compiled a 9-3 record to begin the 2020 NFL season. NFC West handicapping has proven to be quite difficult.
Behind the undefeated Seattle Seahawks, the other three teams in the division have identical 2-1 records. There has only been one intra-division game played, with Arizona stunning San Francisco in Week 1.
This is a difficult travel season, with the division’s teams playing the NFC East and AFC East opponents. So far, they’ve only lost one game on the East Coast. Continuing to get road wins on long trips will impact the playoff potential of NFC West members.
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NFL West Handicapping – Season Recap
Quarterback Russell Wilson has led the Seahawks to an undefeated start with two wins at home. Wilson’s offensive efficiency has been fantastic, as he’s completed 79 of 103 passes for 925 yards and 14 touchdowns.
San Francisco, after the Week 1 loss to Arizona, survived back-to-back games at Giants Stadium. The Week 2 game against the Jets was damaging for the Niners. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a high ankle sprain and is still out of the lineup.
By beating the 49ers to start the season, the Cardinals served notice that they would factor into the race. Losing at home to the then-winless Lions was a setback, but they have plenty of time to recover.
The Los Angeles Rams beat the Eagles in Philadelphia in Week 2, then followed up with a game in Buffalo. They came up just short of remaining undefeated after a late pass interference penalty set up a Bills touchdown.
Top online sportsbooks currently have the Seahawks the favorite to win the division at -145, with the Rams (+375), 49ers (+500) and Cardinals (+650) next.
Week 4 Outlook
For Week 4, Seattle makes the longest trip in the NFL by traveling to Miami to face the Dolphins. The Seahawks, who are 3-0 against the spread this season, are 5.5-point favorites over 1-2 Miami.
Arizona also makes the trip east to face the Carolina Panthers. The Cardinals are three-point road favorites as they look to stay within striking distance of the Seahawks. With a brutal schedule, it’s critical for the NFC West teams to win outside the division. These games will have a big impact when looking at NFC West handicapping.
With Garoppolo out of the lineup, the Niners will have to find a way to win behind Nick Mullens. Despite starting a backup quarterback, San Francisco is favored by 7.5 points against visiting Philadelphia. The Eagles are winless on the season and have not looked like NFC East contenders.
The Rams will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing loss against another winless NFC East team. The New York Giants, without standout running back Saquon Barkley, are 13-point underdogs in Los Angeles. It’s hard to imagine that the Rams will be upended by the rebuilding Giants, but the NFL is full of surprises.
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Outlook for the Season
Seattle is clearly the favorite to win the NFC West, especially the way it has started the season. The Rams appear to have recaptured some of the magic that led to a 2018 Super Bowl season.
The 49ers’ chances may hinge on how long it takes for Garoppolo to return to form after his injury. So far, the Cardinals are the only team with a win inside the division, but they’ll need to see more development from second-year quarterback Kyler Murray.
You can see that nothing is going to come easy in 2020 when doing your NFC West handicapping. Keep it locked here when we will look at the division later in the season.