NFL - NFC West Predictions 2022: Where Can the Betting Value be Found in a Crowded Division?

Between the two-horse race atop the division and the birds behind them, there’s plenty to parse in our NFC West predictions!

NFC West Predictions 2022: Recommended Bets

NFC West Picks and Preview

Not only did the NFC West send three teams to the playoffs last season, but it also accounted for both teams in the NFC Championship Game (Rams and 49ers), and the eventual Super Bowl champions, and might be the NFC’s strongest division again in 2022!

At the same time, each team in this division has a new challenge to overcome. The Rams must avoid complacency or a “Super Bowl hangover.” The 49ers have passed the reins at quarterback to the potentially-spectacular-but-completely-unproven Trey Lance. The Cardinals hope their friction with Kyler Murray is behind them after giving their young franchise QB the contract extension he coveted. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are now firmly in rebuilding mode after trading away Russell Wilson. 

Let’s look at how the sportsbooks view each of these teams ahead of the 2022 season, look for value, and make some NFC West predictions.

NFC West Odds: Arizona Cardinals

It was indeed a tale of two halves for the Cardinals in 2021. They began the season 7-0 and looked like one of the NFL’s elite teams. However, as they have every season since Kliff Kingsbury took over, they fell off in the second half, going 5-6 down the stretch, before getting embarrassed 34-11 by the Rams in the playoffs. In the offseason, despite re-signing veteran pass-catchers Zach Ertz and A.J. Green, the Cardinals suffered losses on both sides of the ball. Running back Chase Edmonds, wide receiver Christian Kirk, and pass rusher Chandler Jones have all found jobs elsewhere in free agency.

On the bright side, Kyler Murray should be in good spirits, having gotten not only a massive contract extension but also a reunion with his good friend and former college teammate, wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (who was acquired via trade from the Baltimore Ravens). There will be pressure on Brown to immediately step up as the no. 1 receiver, with DeAndre Hopkins suspended for the first six games. Green, Ertz, and second-year receiver Rondale Moore will help, but for Murray and the Arizona passing attack to be dangerous early in the season, Brown needs to be the main man.

It’s worth mentioning that the Cardinals gave up at least 30 points in five of their last nine games last season, including their playoff loss. That side of the ball was a significant part of this team’s demise during the second half of the season. They lost an elite pass-rusher in Jones and still have concerns about last year’s first-round pick Zaven Collins at linebacker. That’s created some critical questions for the Arizona defense heading into 2022. 

The Cardinals are also facing a challenging schedule, playing the Chiefs, Raiders, and Rams in the first three weeks, which could put them behind early, making it tough to recover and put together a winning season.

NFC West Prediction - Recommended Bet

NFC West Odds: Los Angeles Rams

It’s not all sunshine for the Rams coming off their Super Bowl win. For starters, they’ve now got a huge target on their back and the pressure that comes with defending a title. Also, lost amid the Rams’ Super Bowl run is the fact that QB Matthew Stafford led the league in interceptions (17) during the regular season.

In addition to Stafford’s propensity for turnovers, the Rams have a new left tackle in Joe Noteboom (in place of newly-retired ex-Pro Bowler Andrew Whitworth). Those are two immediate concerns for a team that looks otherwise potent on offense. Meanwhile, they hope that Allen Robinson is a suitable replacement for Robert Woods. Of course, Cooper Kupp will still be a menace for opposing defenses while Van Jefferson and the rest of the skill position crew provide quality depth for the passing game. But after such an amazing season in 2021, it might be difficult for Kupp to match last year’s production and live up to expectations with teams focusing their efforts on slowing him down. The X-factor for the season could be Cam Akers, who had high hopes as a second-round pick in 2020 but has been derailed by injuries. If he can stay healthy, Akers should be a difference-maker who could take some pressure off Stafford’s shoulders.

On defense, the Rams have the best player in the NFL (and one of the best ever) in Aaron Donald. However, while the Rams solidified the middle of their defense with Bobby Wagner, they didn’t replace the edge-rushing abilities of Von Miller. As a result of the way this team’s been assembled, the Rams didn’t have much in the way of draft capital to inject some youth into their veteran defense. As a result, some issues of depth here make this unit more vulnerable to injuries than other top-tier defenses, especially in the front seven. That adds to the challenge of a schedule that includes ten games against playoff teams from last season, a fact reflected in our NFC West predictions.

Defensive Yards per Game (21/22)

3

San Francisco 49ers

310

11

Arizona Cardinals

329.2

17

Los Angeles Rams

344.9

28

Seattle Seahawks

379.1


NFC West Prediction - Recommended Bet

NFC West Odds: San Francisco 49ers

At first glance, the 49ers don’t seem like a team that’s been to the NFC Championship Game twice in the last three seasons. But that is precisely what they’ve done under head coach Kyle Shanahan. However, 2022 could be Shanahan’s biggest challenge yet, as the Niners transition from the steady but unspectacular Jimmy Garoppolo to sky’s-the-limit wild card Trey Lance at quarterback.

Time will tell whether or not Lance is ready to be an NFL starting QB. Working in his favor is the fact that he’s got playmakers like Deebo Samuel and George Kittle around him. Coming off a season in which he had 1,770 all-purpose yards and 14 TDs, Samuel should be featured even more. There is still room for improvement on last season’s 77-catch tally. In addition, third-year receiver Brandon Aiyuk and rookie Danny Gray also offer some upside.

The Niners should also be able to run the ball with Lance’s athleticism and a stable of backs led by last year’s breakout rookie Elijah Mitchell. However, outside of left tackle Trent Williams, there are some serious questions along the offensive line, which isn’t necessarily what you want with a young quarterback.

On the other side of the ball, the 49ers have one of the best front-sevens in the NFL. That group played a huge role in getting San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game last season. Nick Bosa is one of the best pass-rushers in the league, and Fred Warner leads one of the NFL’s top linebacker corps. Yet, outside of safety Jimmie Ward, the 49ers should be a bit concerned about their secondary depth. However, with a superstar like Bosa and that front-seven, this team is fully capable of overcoming the holes on their roster and leading the pack this year.

NFC West Prediction - Recommended Bet

NFC West Odds: Seattle Seahawks

This will be a challenging season for Pete Carroll. With Russell Wilson traded and Bobby Wagner leaving in free agency, the Seahawks are at a crossroads on both sides of the ball. With those two players no longer in the fold, it’s impossible to argue that this team is better off than it was this time last season. 

Carroll recently confirmed veteran Geno Smith as the team’s starting quarterback. The good news is that Smith has one of the top wide receiver duos in the league in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. That, plus the prospect of a healthy Rashaad Penny, gives this offense a glimmer of hope. With Kenneth Walker III (currently suffering from a hernia, with his return date uncertain) joining the backfield, the Seahawks should have a solid rushing attack to ease some of the pressure on Smith.

On defense, Wagner is a huge loss, but third-year man Jordyn Brooks looks capable of softening the blow. The secondary features two Pro-Bowl-caliber safeties in Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs, and lots of depth at cornerback. This could be one of the NFL’s most overlooked (and surprising) secondaries in the NFL in 2022. With the playmakers the Seahawks have on offense, Seattle has a chance to surpass modest expectations despite an unsettled quarterback situation. After all, Smith has experience and stepped in admirably last season when Russ was sidelined. While there is a lot of uncertainty, the Seahawks are far from a lost cause in 2022.

NFC West Prediction - Recommended Bet

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Conclusion

Is the NFC West division set to be too close to call? Interested in more football content? Be sure to read our guide: How To Bet on American Football or check out our picks for the NFC South division and the NFC North League and visit our odds comparison tool to compare the latest odds.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who won the NFC West division in 2021?

The Rams won the NFC West division in 2021 despite losing their last game to the 49ers, as the Cardinals, who could have overturned them, lost to the Seahawks.  

Who is favored to win the NFC West Division in 2022?

The Rams’ odds to win the NFC West in 2022 are +125 at FanDuel. This makes them the favored team ahead of the 49ers, who are +180 at Caesars. 

Why did the Seattle Seahawks move to the NFC?

As the NFL realigned into eight four-team divisions, the Seahawks moved from the AFC West to the NFC West for the 2002 season. The Seahawks had been a member of the NFC West in their inaugural season in 1976 but moved to the AFC West in 1977.

 

Written by Bryan Zarpentine. 

Bryan has been a sports and sports betting writer for over 12 years. When he's not writing about sports, he's usually watching sports, attending sporting events, or on road trips on his way to sporting events.  

Bryan is an NCAA football and basketball specialist who gives excellent insight into MLB and the NFL worlds.