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2019 NFC WEST PREVIEW
Arizona – Cardinals suffered an NFC-high 9 double-digit losses and were one of only 2 NFL teams without a wire-to-wire win last year ... -12 net turnovers in 2018 regular season.
Los Angeles – Rams had 7 double-digit, and 6 wire-to-wire, regular-season wins last year ... will face 4 opponents coming off a Monday night game this season ... +11 net turnovers in 2018 regular season.
San Francisco – Forty Niners have gone ‘under’ their regular-season win total 4 of the last 5 years ... 25 net turnovers in 2018 regular season.
Seattle – Seahawks were one of only 3 NFL teams without a double-digit loss last year ... +15 net turnovers in 2018 regular season.
TEAM THEME: POCKET-SIZED PRESSURE
Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 5
Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 132.5
Like the NFL itself, the 2019 season will be the Cardinals’ 100th season in the National Football League and their 32nd in Arizona. It will also be their first under head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the first with celebrated QB Kyler Murray, the No. 1 selection in this year’s NFL draft. Much like Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, the diminutive Murray has a lot to prove. “Wilson will be a solid backup quarterback,” most analysts said when he was drafted in 2012. “He will get lost in a league full of 6-5 prototypes,” said the naysayers. Didn’t happen.
Now it’s Murray’s turn to fill those shoes, only under much more scrutiny. Although the top overall pick and a Heisman Trophy winner, Murray lacks Wilson’s aptitude (Wilson went to Collegiate School, a private college preparatory school, from kindergarten through 12th grade. His late dad was a lawyer, his mom a legal nurse consultant). Murray’s skill level is off the charts, though, and with it hopes abound anew in Arizona these days. Kingsbury’s lure to the franchise was his capacity to maximize Patrick Mahomes’ ability when the pair existed together at Texas Tech. Hence, if it seems as though Murray is under a comparative microscope, it’s because he is. Meanwhile, the Redbirds will take on 3 foes that come off Monday night games this season. Every little bit helps. What doesn’t is the loss of Pro Bowl CB Patrick Peterson, suspended for the first six games.
STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Cardinals are 11-1-1 ATS when coming off consecutive SUATS losses, including 10-0 ATS versus sub .700 foes.
PLAY ON: vs. Detroit (9/8)
INSIDE THE STATS: The Cards are 16-8 ITS at home in the regular season the L3Y
Los Angeles Rams
TEAM THEME: SUPER BOWL FOG
Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 10.5 (under -120)
Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 127
In what had to be the most boring Super Bowl game in history last season, the potent Los Angeles offense played like it was hypnotized when it fell to New England – despite holding the powerful Pats to 13 points. It’s what happens when you run 27 plays that gain zero or fewer yards, and fail to reach the red zone. The bottom line is that even with 15 wins last season, thanks to an 11-1 start, they become this year’s edition of the dreaded ‘Super Bowl loser’.
Betting on these teams the following season is akin to developing brain fog. After the midway point in the season, you need to step back and ask yourself what you were thinking. Even the Patriots, last year’s SB champion but also last season’s ‘Super Bowl loser’, failed to avoid the curse when they flopped in the worst of all roles for these teams, compiling a 1-4 SUATS mark as favorites in their non-division regular season forays. FYI: the last 11 Super Bowl losers have combined to go 16-24 the following season in games decided by 3 or fewer points.
However, the Rams may have pulled off the steal of the draft when they secured Memphis RB Darrell Henderson with the 70th selection. Henderson led this draft class in nearly every category: touchdowns (22), yards (1,909), yards per carry (8.9), and yards per game (146.85). He personally had 19 scrimmage plays go for more than 30 yards, a higher total than even Saquon Barkley at Penn State. The bottom line is it will all likely come down to how they fare with four of their first five road contests coming in the Eastern Time zone.
STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Rams will face 4 foes coming off a Monday night game this season – tops in the league.
PLAY AGAINST: as a favorite at Cleveland (9/22)
INSIDE THE STATS: After going 29-67 ITS the previous 7 years, the Rams are 21-14 ITS the L2Y.
San Francisco 49ers
TEAM THEME: TAKE TWO
Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 8 (over -120)
Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 129.5
As was the case last season, the Forty Niners in 2019 will go only as far as QB Jimmy Garoppolo carries them. After a promising debut in the final five games of the 2017 season, Jimmy GQ’s season ended in Week Three with a torn ACL. He’ll enter this year with a career passer rating of 97.3 in 26 career NFL games. Coming off a 2018 campaign in which the 49ers had the worst red-zone touchdown rate in the league, head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense figures to improve dramatically should Garopplo stay healthy.
Injuries also riddled the Niners’ secondary last season, resulting in only two interceptions – the fewest for a full season in NFL history. With it, Frisco managed just seven total takeaways for a whopping net -25 turnovers for the campaign. The presence of Nick Bosa, the No. 2 selection in this year’s NFL Draft, should help add pressure and create chaos. The other two plums in a stacked draft for San Francisco – the second in as many years – include WRs Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd, both major targets for Garoppolo. Hurd was both a RB at Tennessee and a WR at Baylor where he racked up 2,844 rushing yards and 23 TDs, along with 136 receptions for 1,438 yards and 10 TDs in the air. If all goes according to Hoyle, the Niners could be this year’s surprise team.
STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Niners are 28-10 SU and 32-6 ATS on Monday nights when not coming off a spread win of more than 4 points.
PLAY ON: at Arizona (10/31)
INSIDE THE STATS: The 49ers are 4-26 SU and 9-20-1 ATS in their L30 games in which they’ve had 2 or more TOs.
TEAM THEME: SOMETIMES ALL YOU NEED IS A BILLION DOLLARS
Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 8.5 (over -120)
Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 131.5
For those of you not aware, Seattle has missed the playoffs just twice under head coach Pete Carroll. It’s what happens when your team owns a .620 win percentage under one’s watch. And it’s also a derivative of avoiding extended losing streaks as the Seahawks stand 12-2 SU and 11-2-1 ATS in games when coming off consecutive losses under Carroll (never three straight losses). But with all the success comes money management headaches, such as allocating a ton of cash to superstars and then having to fill holes around them due to cash-strapped salary caps. The Brinks truck pulled up in front of QB Russell Wilson’s house this offseason when he signed a new $140 million dollar four-year deal, including a $65 million signing bonus and $107 million in guaranteed money with a no-trade clause, making him the highest-paid player in the NFL.
As a result, the Seahawks were forced to trade DE Frank Clark before the draft to take some of his money off the books. They are hoping that DE L.J. Collier of TCU, their first-round pick this year, can fill the void. Meanwhile, Seattle picked up three wide receivers in the draft for the first time since 1981, including speedball DK Metcalf. Still, despite tackling four 1:00 PM ET kickoffs on the East Coast – plus a Sunday night game in Philadelphia - the bottom line is we expect to see the Seahawks playing in January once again this season.
STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Seahawks have averaged 7.8 Penalties Per Game, the worst in the league the past three seasons.
PLAY ON: vs. LA Rams (10/3) - *KEY as a dog
INSIDE THE STATS: The Seahawks have gained 400 or more yards in only 39 of 159 games under Pete Carroll.
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