There are two different type of teams in the NFC West with the Cardinals and Seahawks fighting for a playoff spot while the 49ers and Rams are fighting to stay out of last place. Both Seattle and Arizona did just a little bit of tinkering with their rosters while San Francisco hopes Chip Kelly jumpstarts things.
Much like I did with the college football win totals, I will break down the schedules in terms of home and road opponents outside the division. In most situations, I'll give a split to each team in divisional play with them winning at home and losing on the road. Vegas is much more on the ball in the NFL compared to college football so the numbers are a lot sharper.
Note: Over/under odds courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbook
(Over 10 wins -155, Under 10 wins +135)
Record Last Year: 13-3
Offense: We said it last year and it still rings true in 2016 that the health of Carson Palmer is of vital importance. He is the straw that stirs the drink in Arizona and Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown really benefit from his presence. David Johnson was a revelation towards the end of last year and will be a nice, versatile running back. Chris Johnson also showed flashes and will be a good complement.
Defense: It was a great offseason for Tyrann Mathieu, who got paid by the team that took a chance on him in the draft. He forms a great duo with Patrick Peterson in the secondary. The front seven should be able to feast on some of the lesser teams on the schedule as this group was able to get a lot of pressure last year and has added former Patriot Chandler Jones to the mix.
Schedule: The Cardinals host the Patriots in Week 1 without Tom Brady. They also have just three road games before their Week 9 bye. The payback for the home friendly start comes in the last four weeks when they play three road games at Miami, Seattle and Los Angeles.
Prediction: I think the over is the play here although not at this price. Arizona is probably the best team in the NFC West, but the concern here is Palmer's health. Should he go down, this squad is in trouble. With great health should come another division title and chance to get to the Super Bowl.
(Over 7 wins +124, Under 7 wins -154)
Record Last Year: 7-9
Offense: Todd Gurley is going to be a really good running back, but there is literally nothing around him on offense. Whether it's Case Keenum or rookie Jared Goff under center, this unit will get stagnant often. Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt and Pharoh Cooper are some of the wide receivers and none exactly scare anyone. This season will be all about growth for Goff when he gets the call.
Defense: James Laurinaitis, Chris Long and Rodney McLeod are gone from the defense. But the good news is that stud linemen Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn are still there and both are great at pressuring the quarterback. The secondary could be where the issues are although cornerback Trumaine Johnson is underrated. If the front seven doesn't rack up the sacks, then the problems on the back end will be magnified.
Schedule: The Rams have three of their first four on the road as they try to find their identity. They do get three of their last four at home, but they could be fighting for .500 by that time. Los Angeles has road matchups with the Jets, Patriots and Saints outside of the division.
Prediction: Once again, the money move is right and the under is the play. Problem is that there is no value at -154. This offense is going to be woeful and the defense will fight early, but run out of steam in a lot of games.
(Over 5 wins -145, Under 5 wins +115)
Record Last Year: 5-11
Offense: Chip Kelly get his second chance after being fired by Philadelphia and will look to introduce his unique offense and style of running a team. The problems for him start at QB with Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick fighting for snaps. The latter has the mobility that Kelly prefers in his signal-callers, but his accuracy could use some work. Carlos Hyde stands to benefit from Kelly’s up-tempo offense. He played well last season until he was hampered by foot injuries. Outside of Torrey Smith, the WRs are a mess.
Defense: All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman got paid in the offseason and is the leader of the defense. There are plenty of veterans in the lineup, but I just don't like the group as a whole. New coordinator Jim O'Neil has his work cut out for him. At least the 49ers have a reliable, veteran kicker in Phil Dawson.
Schedule: From Weeks 4-11, San Francisco has just two road games. Three times this season, the 49ers have two straight road games. They visit the Panthers and Seahawks in Weeks 2-3. Yikes.
Prediction: The under is the play here. I don't see a lot to be optimistic about right now with this team. The offense is going to struggle even with Kelly changing things up. I don't think Kelly will be able to orchestrate a significant turnaround in Year 1 in San Francisco.
(Over 10.5 wins -125, Under 10.5 wins +105)
Record Last Year: 10-6
Offense: Marshawn Lynch has retired so it's now the Thomas Rawls show although Christine Michael and rookie C.J. Prosise will factor into the mix. Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett are solid WRs for Russell Wilson although it would be nice if TE Jimmy Graham got healthy and was able to play like he did in New Orleans. The offensive line continues to be in transition.
Defense: The Legion of Boom is pretty much intact with Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas back. The front seven is led by Bobby Wagner, Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. This group's continuity should help during the season.
Schedule: Seattle has an early Week 5 bye with alternating home and road matchups before then. The Seahawks play at New England and Green Bay in big-time tilts. Other than that, this schedule is very manageable.
Prediction: No real feel in this one as I think 10 is a good number. Depending on what book you wager at will determine the win total number. The defense is still really good and Wilson is an upper-echelon quarterback. The Rams have given Seattle trouble and games with Arizona will be tough too.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.