NFC West Predictions NFL 2022-23: Odds, Picks and Projections

Our Pro pick for the Seahawks vs Rams division matchup

The Seattle Seahawks are no longer just a feel-good story for this season. They’re a legit team, and Pete Caroll deserves a lot of credit and a big apology for the way his team has played this season. Geno Smith looks like a legit starter, and he’ll look to keep his solid season going with a win over divisional rivals Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium.

The Rams won’t have Matthew Stafford back on the field, and Aaron Donald is also questionable. The Seahawks are coming off back-to-back losses, so they need to be at their best to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Rams’ offense has been dead in the water sans Stafford, so they should have no trouble covering the 8-points spread, even if they’re on the road.

Our best bet on who will win NFC West in 2023

Most NFC West predictions have the Los Angeles Rams on top and for very good reasons. The Rams are perhaps the most stacked team in football. They enter the year as reigning champions, and even though they lost Von Miller, they’re still way too talented, even compared to the other NFC West teams. Matthew Stafford’s inconsistent performances have hurt them throughout the season, and Cam Akers was a massive disappointment.

Aaron Donald continues to be the biggest defensive force in the game, and Sean McVay just has too many weapons at his disposal. However, despite having the highest NFC odds before the start of the season, the Rams look flat and out of sync as of now. Sean McVay’s job is safe, but he needs to hit the drawing board and straighten the ship.

If you want to take a look at the other NFC contenders, refer to our NFC Championship page for more information.

NFC West winner odds picks

What’s The Current Picture On The NFC West?

For the first time in years, not all NFC West teams are legit contenders. However, and despite the opening NFC West odds, the Seattle Seahawks have definitely looked the part, although they’ve kind of struggled over the past couple of weeks.

The Seahawks have been much better than expected, and Geno Smith has thrown the ball downfield more often than expected. They can put up points against bad teams, but we still need to see them thrive against actual contenders.

The Arizona Cardinals are projected to finish third in the NFC West standings, which seems kind of odd, considering they should be much better than that. They gave Kyler Murray even more weapons, but he’s failed to prove he was worthy of that massive contract, not to mention he’s also struggled to stay on the field.

Still, people seem to question Kliff Kingsbury’s decision-making for very good reasons. He’s been more unimpressive as the weeks go by, and Murray needs to find more consistency. This could be Kingsbury’s final season in charge, and no one would complain.

The San Francisco 49ers are among the most intriguing teams in the NFL this season. Yet, multiple NFC West predictions have them as a big dark horse to win the division. That’s not a surprise at all, considering they’re the most well-round team in the division, and it’s not even close.

The Niners have a good defense, elite special teams, and are a well-coached team. They’ve now added Christian McCaffrey to an already explosive backfield, but Jimmy Garoppolo continues to be their biggest handicap.

Unsurprisingly, most preseason NFC West predictions agree that the Los Angeles Rams should be heavily favored to win the division. However, as we mentioned before, the Rams have underperformed throughout the season, and it doesn’t seem like the reigning Super Bowl champions have what it takes to go the distance again. Matthew Stafford isn’t even likely to play again this season.

The Rams are one of the biggest disappointments of the season, and with Stafford struggling with two concussions in three weeks, it seems like their campaign is all but done already.

NFC West: History And Context

Greatest Players

Considering the history of these franchises, it’s not a surprise to see that the NFC West has had some of the greatest players to ever lace them up. So, since we don’t want to leave anyone behind, we’ll list the top 25 best players from each team:

  • San Francisco 49ers: Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott, Bill Walsh, Dwight Clark, Frank Gore, Roger Craig, Tom Ratham, Charles Haley, Deion Sanders, Terrell Owens, Bryant Young, Hugh McElhenny, Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wilcox, Bob St. Clair, Y.A. Tittle, John Henry Johnson, Gene Washington, Joe Perry, Leo Nomellini, Fred Dean, Brent Jones, and Jon Brodie.
  • Los Angeles Rams: Aaron Donald, Kurt Warner, Orlando Pace, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Jackie Slater, Jack Youngblood, Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Charlie Cowan, Henry Ellard, Eddie Meador, Roman Gabriel, Todd Gurley, Tom Mack, Steven Jackson, Norm Van Brocklin, Elroy Hirsch, Torry Holt, Isiah Robertson, Bob Waterfield, Tom Fears, Rich Saul, and Les Richter.
  • Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Jacob Green, Kenny Easley, Cortez Kennedy, Steve Largent, Walter Jones, Chad Brown, Doug Baldwin, Curt Warner, Matt Hasselback, Eugene Robinson, Steve Hutchinson, Kam Chancellor, Dave Brown, Shaun Alexander, Lofa Tatupu, K.J. Wright, Dave Krieg, Michael Sinclair, and Brian Blades.
  • Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, Larry Wilson, Dan Dierdof, Jackie Smith, Charlie Trippi, Aeneas Williams, Ernie Nevers, Roger Wehrli, Dick Lane, Ollie Matson, Duke Slater, Paddy Driscol, Marshall Goldberg, Kurt Wartner, Jim Hart, Patrick Peterson, Roy Green, Otis Anderson, Anquan Boldin, Luis Sharpe, Larry Centers, Adrian Wilson, Jim Bakken, Pat Tiley, and Tom Banks.

The Top And The Bottom

The NFC West has no middle ground. It’s either a state-of-the-art, uber-valuable franchise or a bottom-feeding team, at least in terms of value. According to Forbes, this division has the third and eighth most valuable franchises (Los Angeles Rams at $6.2 billion and San Francisco 49ers at $5.2 billion).

In contrast, it also has the third least-valuable franchise in the Arizona Cardinals ($3.27 billion) and a middle-of-the-pack team in the Seattle Seahawks, which are the 14th-most valuable team at $4.5 billion and yearly revenue of $518 million in 2021.

A Coastal History

The NFC West wasn’t always exclusively for the West Coast. In fact, it was originally known as the National Football League Coastal Division and originally intended that all of its teams started with the letter “C.” It also intended to feature only teams that were near to the coasts, regardless of if it was the East Coast or the West Coast.

Originally, the first version of what we know as the NFC West today featured the Baltimore Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, and Atlanta Falcons; two teams from the East, and two from the West. Needless to say, this proved to be a mistake, starting with the fact that the Falcons were farther east than at least five Eastern Conference teams at the time.

The League’s Finest

The NFC West has been a bloodbath for years. Literally, any of the four teams was a legit menace to reach the Super Bowl, and the Los Angeles Rams are the reigning champions, just two years after the San Francisco 49ers also reached the ultimate stage.

As a matter of fact, the NFC West has been so superior to other divisions that one NFC West team has made the Super Bowl seven times in the past two decades. Unfortunately, just two of them have been able to win; the Rams in 2022 and the Seahawks in 2014.

There’s No Love Here

Every division has its own rivalries, but those in the NFC West are just fiery and heartfelt. There’s absolutely no sort of love between these teams, which is why making NFC West predictions in divisional games often backfires, even for the most experienced bettors and football fans.

For years, the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams have hated each others’ guts, which also happens between the Niners and the Seattle Seahawks. Notably, Seahawks and Rams don’t get along at all, either, and that’s also the case between Cardinals and Rams and Cardinals and Seahawks.

The Niners Own It

Death, love, and the San Francisco 49ers making a big splash in the division. That’s the way it’s been since it’s its inception and will continue to be this way for years to come if Trey Lance winds up being as good as they expect. Simply put, the Niners own the division.

During the 45 years of its existence, the San Francisco 49ers have ended on top on 20 occasions. They’ve also made the playoffs 25 times, with seven Super Bowl appearances and five rings. The St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams are a close second with 16 divisional titles, 24 playoff berths, five Super Bowl appearances, and a couple of rings. The Seattle Seahawks won 9 divisional titles and one ring, followed by the St. Louis/Phoenix, Arizona Cardinals (3), New Orleans Saints (2), Baltimore Colts (1), and Carolina Panthers (1).