NFC West Preview

SEATTLE STILL THE MOST DOMINANT FORCE IN THE NFC'S WEST DIVISION

We continue our series of NFL Divisional previews today with the NFC West...just in time for tonight's big TV game featuring the two-time defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. Seattle is 1-1 in their recent Super Bowl tries...with the victory coming two February's ago over these very same Broncos.

Is Seattle due for a fall? Or, is this a team capable of dominating for many years because their key players are so young? Let's review last year's key stats as we try to anticipate what's in store for 2015...

2014 NFC WEST DIVISION STANDINGS
Seattle: 12-4 (+9 turnovers, #9 rated schedule)
Arizona: 11-5 (+8 turnovers, #10 rated schedule)
San Francisco: 8-8 (+7 turnovers, #12 rated schedule)
St. Louis: 6-10 (-2 turnovers, #13 rated schedule)

Notebook: No signs of weakness yet. Seattle won 75% of its games while facing a Top 10 schedule...and was just one dumb play call away from winning its second straight Super Bowl. Arizona was right there with them in a lot of ways last season...but took a few big hits to their defense with personnel and the braintrust in the offseason. Last year's defensive coordinator is now the head coach of the New York Jets! San Francisco was arguably a playoff team last year when you adjust for context. But, the Harbaugh era imploded off the field and it's far from certain that something good is going to rise from the ashes in 2015. St. Louis added Nick Foles at quarterback, which gives them a chance to make a run at .500 if they can turn the turnover category around.

2014 YARDS-PER-PLAY
Seattle: 5.9 on offense, 4.6 on defense
San Francisco: 5.2 on offense, 5.2 on defense
St. Louis: 5.3 on offense, 5.6 on defense
Arizona: 5.2 on offense, 5.8 on defense

Notebook: Wow...+1.3 yards-per-play was HUGE by last year's standards. Seattle plays championship caliber football all the time. Disappointing numbers for everyone else...though part of that comes from having to face Seattle twice in divisional play. Big red flag for Arizona...who was worse on defense than many realized. Both the Rams and Cards can push those offensive numbers up if the can keep their first string quarterbacks healthy. One thing we need to emphasize again...Seattle is marketed as a "defensive" champion. They have a great offense too!

2014 THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS
Seattle: 43% on offense, 37% on defense
Arizona: 40% on offense, 38% on defense
San Francisco: 40% on offense, 43% on defense
St. Louis: 35% on offense, 39% on defense

Notebook: Decent numbers for the top two teams...and Seattle has a chance to get better as their young quarterback continues to climb the standard career arc. Struggles here were an early warning sign for San Francisco's demise. Their defense stopped scaring people on third downs.

2015 PROJECTED WIN TOTALS IN LAS VEGAS
Seattle 11 or 11.5
Arizona 8.5
St. Louis 7.5 or 8
San Francisco 7

Vegas tends to keep things close to the vest with these Preseason numbers...so the estimates for Seattle are actually high by the standards of this prop. Bettors MUST get to 12-4 or better to cash their tickets...which could become dicey if Seattle finally has some bad injury luck on offense. Things could get very muddy in the middle given all the new faces in spots 2-3-4. We talked last weekend about how the NFC Central could be better than people realize given such changes. In the West...the downside seems bigger than the upside unless Carson Palmer can play all 16 games for the Cardinals, and Foles is the real deal outside of the system he ran in Philly.

None of the four teams in this division played Thursday night...so you can monitor all four in their 2015 Preseason openers. This weekend's schedule for NFC West teams...

Friday: Denver at Seattle (NFL Network)
Friday: St. Louis at Oakland
Saturday: San Francisco at Houston
Saturday: Kansas City at Arizona

JIM HURLEY'S opening salvo continues with a Fabulous Friday. Game day BEST BETS in both football and baseball can always be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours. If you can't call until the weekend, be sure you take care of business before the early baseball begins Saturday.

Two more divisional previews to come this weekend, and then three more after that as we march our way through the NFL. Here's the upcoming schedule in the NOTEBOOK...

Saturday: AFC South preview to get you ready for Houston hosting S. Francisco
Sunday: NFC East preview to get you ready for Philadelphia hosting Indianapolis
Monday: MLB Series Preview...SF Giants at St. Louis Cardinals
Tuesday: MLB Series Preview...NY Mets at Baltimore Orioles
Wednesday-Thursday: AFC North Previewto get you ready for Cleveland hosting Buffalo
Friday: AFC West Preview to get you ready for Kansas City hosting Seattle
Saturday: NFC South Preview to get you ready for New Orleans hosting New England

Isn't it great to have football back on the schedule?! Keep printing out these divisional previews....and go back in the archives to get all the college football conference previews if you were out of pocket earlier this summer. You'll always get helpful handicapping information here in the NOTEBOOK...and BIG, JUICY WINNERS from JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!

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Sep

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