The NFC West is set to feature some intriguing matchups this Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers will go on the road, where they have struggled a bit this season; the Arizona Cardinals, on the other hand, are traveling to Seattle and have won both of their away games so far this season. This isn’t great news for the Seattle Seahawks, who are hoping to get their first divisional win of the season. The struggling but still threatening Los Angeles Rams stay at home to host the downtrodden Carolina Panthers, which may be exactly what the doctor ordered after dropping two straight games to the Dallas Cowboys and the rival Niners. Should make some fun viewing, so let’s look at the matchups!
All betting odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
San Francisco 49ers (-5) @ Atlanta Falcons (+5) — O/U 44.5 -- 10:00 AM PT — FOX
The San Francisco 49ers are traveling to the southeast to take on the home underdog Atlanta Falcons. The Bay Area squad is looking to go 2-0 against the NFC South after pummeling the Carolina Panthers last week. San Francisco is allowing an absurd 12.2 points per game, which makes it very unsurprising that they have hit the under in every game up until they put up 37 against Carolina, which ostensibly resulted in the termination of Matt Rhule.
The Falcons have a better-than-expected offense, but their defense is allowing more than 24 points per game. The fact that this is a road game and both of the 49ers losses have come on the road may seem significant, but I would point instead to the fact that the Denver Broncos have the 4th best defense in weighted DVOA, per Football Outsiders, and the Chicago Bears are allowing less than 20 points per game to their opponents. To be fair though, the Niners have only played one top-10 offense in DVOA (the #1 ranked Seattle Seahawks, of course), and the Falcons rank 10th in that category. For this reason, I expect Atlanta to cover the 5-point spread, but San Francisco still wins outright and will manage to keep it a relatively low-scoring affair.
The pick: Under 44.5 points, San Francisco 49ers to win straight up but Atlanta to cover
Arizona Cardinals (-2) @ Seattle Seahawks (+2) — O/U 50.5 — 1:05 — FOX
The Seattle Seahawks will host their first NFC West home game of the season after suffering a road loss to the rival 49ers in Week 2, and they once again open as home underdogs. The similarly 2-3 Arizona Cardinals are freshly coming off a home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, and have failed to live up to expectations after going 11-6 in 2021 and making their first postseason appearance since 2015.
We all know the story in this one — the Seahawks have a historically awful defense once again, and no amount of offensive firepower can mask the fact that they simply can’t expect to win shootouts on a weekly basis. Still, the Cardinals are far from an offensive juggernaut, and their defense is porous in its own right. The Seahawks have a tendency to surprise everybody, and division games can get weird, so I am taking the home team but I expect a decent amount of scoring in this one.
The pick: Over 50.5 points, Seahawks to win and cover the spread
Carolina Panthers (+10) @ LA Rams (-10) — O/U 41.5 — 1:05 — FOX
Los Angeles is in the rare position of having a sub-.500 record under Sean McVay (translation: unheard of prior to 2022). This won’t matter though when they take on the Carolina Panthers, who I mentioned above due to their recent blowout loss to the 49ers. Sometimes firing a coach can provide an immediate boost to a team in dire straits; more likely, though, this will spell trouble against the Rams, who are better than their 2-3 record might indicate. Still, LA is a far cry from where they finished 2021, and the Super Bowl champs are struggling to put points on the board; three times this season they have scored 10 or fewer points in a game. The Panthers defense is unlikely to limit them this heavily, and I expect a comfortable win for the Rams... just maybe not “10-points” comfortable.
The pick: Under 41.5, Rams to win straight up but Panthers to cover the spread
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