With the NFL season just around the corner, it's time to take a look at futures bet that always has the potential to pay off if you know what to look for. We are going to look at the NFC West, and decide who will and represent the division in the 2011 NFL Playoffs. If you remember back to last year, the NFC West division race came down to the final week, when the Seattle Seahawks were taking on the St. Louis Rams. The Seahawks were able to knock off the young Rams team, and head into the playoffs with a full head of steam. Once they landed in the playoffs, they were up against a heavy favorite in the New Orleans Saints. The Seahawks were able to upset the Saints, but were eliminated in the next round by the Chicago Bears. The Seahawks became one of the few teams in history to post an under .500 record (at 7-9) to win their division.
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This year as we head into the season, the odds on the four teams (Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Arizona Cardinals), are a bit different than most would have assumed. Two of the teams in the NFC West have made some very big changes to their rosters at the quarterback position in this offseason. The Cardinals traded one of their cornerbacks, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, for Kevin Kolb; while the Seahawks picked up Tarvaris Jackson from the Vikings, and also got wide receiver Sidney Rice out of free agency. The 2011 NFC West race is looking like it has the potential to be one of the more interesting races of any across the league.
» Odds on the NFC West Winner
- San Francisco 49ers: +165
- St. Louis Rams: +165
- Arizona Cardinals: +325
- Seattle Seahawks: +600
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Out of this group, I see three teams who have the potential to be better overall, and one team who seems to be in a stand still currently. The Rams have an excellent young quarterback in Sam Bradford (who had to deal with injuries to almost his entire receiving core last year), while the Cardinals picked up an up and comer in Kevin Kolb. The Seahawks picked up quite a few players on free agency, and Sidney Rice will be strong for them. But then there is the 49ers, who finished at a disappointing 6-10 last year. The 49ers haven't made many changes, and are sticking with Alex Smith at quarterback. I see this division setting up for another low win team making it into the playoffs. I'm going to ride with the team who has the best quarterback, a strong running game, and a finally healthy group of receivers.
- St. Louis Rams- 9-7
- Arizona Cardinals- 7-9
- Seattle Seahawks- 6-10
- San Francisco 49ers- 6-10