Following the NFL schedule release, fans and analysts often try to predict which games will be won and lost by each team. Another key aspect of the schedule release involves sportsbooks setting the predicted number of games any given team should win, using the book’s models. In this series, each of the eight NFL divisions will be previewed on a team-by-team basis. The win total projections below have been taken from Caesars Sportsbook, via ESPN.
The second division that will be assessed is the NFC West. Last season was wildly successful for the division as three of the four teams qualified for the playoffs, two of them made the conference championship, and the Rams won Super Bowl LVI. With superstars being traded, suspended, and mulling retirement, there is intrigue for all four teams in 2022.
Previous divisions in the series: NFC North Over/Under Betting Predictions
Los Angeles Rams
Caesars Sportsbook Over/Under Projection: 10.5 wins
2021 Record: 12-5
After capturing Super Bowl LVI in February, the Los Angeles Rams quieted all critics who opposed their team-building approach. Les Snead opted to push his chips to the center of the table, leveraging their draft capital to acquire vital players such as Matthew Stafford and Von Miller. This left the franchise without a draft selection in the top 100 picks in April, but a championship makes such a risk worthwhile.
During the offseason, the Rams were unable to retain a handful of starters. These players include Darious Williams, Austin Corbett, Sebastian Joseph-Day, and Von Miller. The team also traded Robert Woods and has yet to re-sign Odell Beckham Jr., but Sean McVay appears comfortable rolling with newcomer Allen Robinson II.
One of the most notable signings for LA was Bobby Wagner, plucking him for the division-rival Seahawks. The California native will be looking to continue his role as one of the best linebackers in the NFL, being named Second-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowl selection in 2021. Not only does this move strengthen the Rams, but it also takes away one of the leaders from a team they play twice a year.
The Rams open the NFL season at SoFi Stadium against the Buffalo Bills, the current betting favorite to win Super Bowl LVII. Despite a difficult first test and overall schedule, Los Angeles is favored in most of their games.
Prediction: Over 10.5 wins
Caesars Sportsbook Over/Under Projection: 9 wins
2021 Record: 11-6
The Arizona Cardinals have had a turbulent offseason, beginning with murmurs about their quarterback wanting to switch franchises. Kyler Murray deleted any content related to the Cardinals during the offseason, causing rumors to swirl that he could seek a trade if he didn’t receive a contract extension. However, it seems these thoughts have settled as he tweeted, “I wanna win Super Bowl with the Cardinals, AZ is home.”
Arizona isn’t just home to Kyler Murray, but star receiver DeAndre Hopkins as well. A shocking suspension of six games was handed to Hopkins, placing him out until Week 7. Trading for former Ravens wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown helps to soften the blow, but losing Hopkins allows defenses to focus more on other weapons in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense.
The Cardinals have been prone to starting the season strong and cooling off as time goes on, as seen by their 10-2 start which was followed by five of six losses. Starting their 2022 campaign facing three playoff opponents from last season coupled with the absence of DeAndre Hopkins isn’t a fantastic recipe for success.
Read more about what Hopkins’ suspension means for the Cardinals here: The Trickle Down Effect of the DeAndre Hopkins Suspension.
Prediction: Under 9 wins
San Francisco 49ers
Caesars Sportsbook Over/Under Projection: 10 wins
2021 Record: 10-7
The 49ers are another NFC West team with rumors of a star player leaving, this referring to Deebo Samuel. It’s unclear whether Samuel was offered in trade packages around the time of the NFL Draft, but his playmaking ability is one that helped San Francisco find success in 2021.
His quarterback from last season, Jimmy Garappolo, was also thought to be a trade candidate not too long ago. Despite leading the team to the NFC Championship last season, Garappolo’s injury history and the draft capital invested in Trey Lance point to the second-year signal-caller being handed the reins in 2022.
Independent of these two players, the 49ers have a talented roster and have made the NFC Championship in two of their last three seasons. Their win total should be close to the projection above, but they have the pieces to surpass expectations in 2022 and be one of the strongest teams in the NFC.
Prediction: Over 10 wins
Caesars Sportsbook Over/Under Projection: 6 wins
2021 Record: 7-10
The Seattle Seahawks had a historic offseason after a disappointing 2021 season, seeing two all-time greats depart. Quarterback Russell Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos, indicating a rebuilding approach from John Schneider. Part of the return deal was Drew Lock, a 2019 second-round pick. Lock is competing with Geno Smith for the starting quarterback position, each having big shoes to fill.
Players such as DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett may see their production drop off this season, which would hinder the run game and overall offense in Seattle. The offensive line is also not what it was a couple of years ago, making it tougher to generate offense.
The other superstar to leave the Seahawks was Bobby Wagner, heading to the Rams for the foreseeable future. Their defensive leader absent from the roster will force other players to step up, and the unit has a handful of new players. The Seattle defense, which no longer has any remaining Legion of Boom members, conceded the fifth-most yards last season.
Favored in just four games at the moment, the Seahawks have an uphill battle in 2022. Head Coach Pete Carroll will have to reinvent the identities of both sides of the ball this season and the first game won’t be easy: he will face his former quarterback on Monday Night Football just three days shy of his 71st birthday.