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NFC West Predictions: 2018 NFL Previews
The NFC West is one of the most interesting divisions this season. Last season's division winners, the Los Angeles Rams. have stacked their defense with DT Ndamukong Suh and CB Aqib Talib. As they already led the league in scoring last season, the expectation is to take next step from an 11-win season year ago. Accuscore simulations are not entirely sold on big improvements from the last season, but the current prediction is that the Rams will win the division. Even thought improvement on last season's record is not probable, the Rams of returning to the playoffs are around 70% in simulations.
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The San Francisco 49ers finished last season with an impressive five-wins stretch. There are high hopes in San Francisco that Jimmy Garoppolo will be the long term answer at the QB position. It looks San Francisco is still a couple steps behind the Rams, but the 49ers' record expects to improve to eight wins. By getting results in a few tight games, the Niners could even see the postseason. On the eve of the season, the 49ers' playoffs probability is 34%.
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The Seattle Seahawks have been dominating the NFC West for a while. Now, their core defense is gone, and it looks like the dominance of the division may be moving south to Los Angeles. Simulations predict Seattle will win seven games due largely to a strong historical home field advantage, but the Seahawks' probability to reach the postseason is just under 20%. It would require an impressive performance by returning players as well as newcomers to repeat last season's nine wins in Seattle.
There will be a new sheriff at the desert. Carson Palmer retired, and the Cardinals drafted UCLA star John Rosen. While Rosen learns the NFL tricks and gathers experience, Sam Bradford will be the starter. Bradford has been performing well, but due to injuries he hasn’t been reliable for his former teams. When healthy, Bradford puts up numbers that put him in the top 10 QBs in the league. Accuscore predicts that Arizona will get 6 wins, and this will be a rebuilding season as the probability to the playoffs is just 8%.