Football picksAugust 7, 2009

NFL Picks Previews 2009: NFC WEST

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:
1. SEATTLE
2. ARIZONA
3. SAN FRANCISCO
4. ST. LOUIS

COACHING CHANGES:
SEATTLE: JIM MORA JR.
SAN FRANCISCO: MIKE SINGLETARY
ST. LOUIS:  STEVE SPAGNUOLO

SEATTLE
LAST YEAR: 4-12
DIRECTION: UP

The Seahawks were perhaps the most disappointing team in the NFL last season at 4-12. They will give the ball to Julius Jones this year which should help. T.J. Houshmandzadeh will give them a major weapon at WR, and if all the components on offense stay healthy, the Seahawks will be much improved. Defensive changes should shore up the middle and up front, and this looks like a much-improved team.

BETTING THE SEAHAWKS – WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
They are 1-6 ATS on the road after playing St. Louis.

BETTING THE SEAHAWKS – WHEN THEY ARE GOOD:
Out of the blocks, and off to the races, Seahawks 12-3 ATS at home in September. The Seahawks are also 5-0 ATS with a new head coach before playing Arizona.

ARIZONA
LAST YEAR: 9-7
DIRECTION: DOWN

The Arizona Cardinals made a quantum leap last year all the way to the Superbowl. That is a tough act to follow. With a defense that isn’t Superbowl caliber and a QB that could show decline at anytime, the Cards may struggle in 2009. But, the good news is, at least in their division, there is no one that stands very tall.

BETTING THE CARDS’ WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
The Cardinals have not been too kind to backers on MNF as they are 0-4 ATS as a favorite on Monday Night Football.

BETTING THE CARDS’ WHEN THEY ARE GOOD:
Cashing in for the Holidays the Cards are 15-5 ATS in December home games this decade. Excellent offense rebounds big after being held to 10 points or less in their previous game. They follow by going 5-0 ATS.

SAN FRANCISCO
LAST SEASON: 7-9
DIRECTION: UP

The Niners seemed to find some life when Mike Singletary took over last year. This season he gets the chance to ride them through training camp and put his fingerprints on everything. The team seems to respond well to him. Michael Crabtree could be talented enough to keep defenses from stacking eight in the box to stop Frank Gore, which would spell a big season for him after dissapointing last year. The issue will be at quarterback as there are major questions here.

BETTING THE 49ers – WHEN THEY ARE BAD THEY ARE BAD:
The Niners are not good after scoring 28 points or more, coming in at 1-7 ATS in their next game.

BETTING THE 49ers – WHEN THEY ARE GOOD:
The road team in their series against Arizona is 8-0 ATS so they have been perfect there now for two years.

ST. LOUIS
LAST YEAR: 2-14
DIRECTION: UP

When you win just two games it is hard not to expect more. But I think the Rams are in a division that anyone can win. They have a shot if all goes well. Steve Spagnuolo is a defensive genius and should pave the way to immediate results on the defensive end. All participants from the Greatest Show on Turf are now gone with the release of Holt and Pace. The Cards will have a lot of Giants influence that Spagnuolo has brought in, so the transition should be easier. This could be an interesting year in St. Louis.

BETTING THE RAMS – WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
The Rams sing the blues on the road, at 19-36 ATS last 55. The Rams are 0-6 ATS with a new head coach playing a division game on the road.

BETTING THE RAMS – WHEN THEY ARE GOOD:
The Rams hit paydirt as a double-digit dog, cashing four of their last five.

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