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San Francisco 49ers Predictions

2015 San Francisco 49ers: 4th NFC West (2014 record: 8-8) Head Coach: Jim Tomsula NFC West Division Odds: +1800 Super Bowl Champion Odds: +5000 Season Win Totals Over-Under Odds: Over 6.5 (+130), Under 6.5 (-160) Key Additions: Reggie Bush (RB), Torrey Smith (WR) Key Losses: More than half of the starting defense, Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, Frank Gore (RB) The 49ers offseason can be summed up in one word; ugh. It seemed like another starter was either traded or retired every day for about a month straight at one point. Add to it the imploded relationship between Harbaugh and the front office, and the disaster that was the 2014 season looks to have sent the Niners spiraling into full rebuild mode just two years after reaching the NFC Championship game. Defense Unbelievably, San Francisco lost six starters from this unit in the offseason, and the replacements that were brought on board don’t even come close to the level that departed. On the line, draftee Arik Armstead and the regressing Darnell Dockett appear to be the front runners to start alongside the underwhelming Glenn Dorsey. The linebacking corps will get NaVorro Bowman back, but one has to believe that his knee will never be the same after the gruesome injury he suffered to it. Corey Lemonier is going to be given one more shot; he’s been an annual disappointment. Aldon Smith returns as well, but one has to wonder how long he’ll be able to stay out of trouble. He’s saying and doing all of the right things in camp, so perhaps he’s finally grown up. The secondary lost two...

St Louis Rams Predictions

2015 St Louis Rams Predictions: 3rd NFC West (2014 record: 6-10) Head Coach: Jeff Fisher NFC West Division Odds: +700 Super Bowl Champion Odds: +3500 Season Win Totals Over-Under Odds: Over 8 (+130), Under 8 (-160) Key Additions: Jimmy Graham (TE), Cary Williams (CB), Frank Clark (DE/OLB) Key Losses: Byron Maxwell (CB), Max Unger (C), Malcolm Smith (LB) Key Additions: Todd Gurley (RB, Nick Foles (QB), Nick Fairley (DT), Akeem Ayers (LB) Key Losses: Sam Bradford (QB), Zac Stacy (RB), Jake Long (OT), Joseph Barksdale (OT) The Sam Bradford saga finally came to an end, as the Rams finally tired of his inability to stay healthy and shipped him Philly for Nick Foles. But that was the least of the Rams worries last season, as the annual lack of a consistent running attack again doomed them. The defense held up their side more often than not, and will again be counted on to carry the team due to some new offensive challenges. Defense The latest edition of The Fearsome Foursome makes the line of the Rams, again, one of the best in the league – and if they get the Nick Fairley who is interested in playing football rather that loafing about, they’ll be even better. The returning Robert Quinn, Chris Long, Michael Brockers, and Aaron Donald will continue to be stellar against both the run and the pass. Those five linemen will continue to make the secondary look very good, and they aren’t terrible in and of themselves. CB Janoris Jenkins did struggle a bit last season, but he’s now fully recovered from a knee injury and should...

Arizona Cardinals Predictions

2015 Arizona Cardinals Predictions: 2nd NFC West (2014 record: 11-5) Head Coach: Bruce Arians NFC West Division Odds: +450 Super Bowl Champion Odds: +2500 Season Win Totals Over-Under Odds: Over 8.5 (-105), Under 8.5 (-125) Key Additions: Jimmy Graham (TE), Cary Williams (CB), Frank Clark (DE/OLB) Key Losses: Byron Maxwell (CB), Max Unger (C), Malcolm Smith (LB) Key Additions: Mike Iupati (OG), DJ Humphries (OT), Sean Weatherspoon (LB) Key Losses: Antonio Cromartie (CB), Dan Williams (NT) Again, it was a tale of two halves for the Cardinals in 2014, just like the previous year. Last season, however, a fast start was destroyed by the loss of their top two QBs as both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton were injured. The defense just couldn’t keep enough points off of the board and a disappointing first-round loss to Carolina couldn’t be avoided. The o-line was improved so we’ll see if improved protection can keep Palmer on the field this year. Defense The Cards defense performed admirably last year, holding their opponents to 20 points or less in a fantastic thirteen games. Unfortunately, they lost key members in Williams and Cromartie and didn’t make significant upgrades in deficient areas. Cromartie actually outplayed Patrick Peterson last year, but Peterson was dealing with some health issues that have since been resolved. He should be back to his top shelf self. Unfortunately, there is nobody to play alongside him, and the roster is paper thin at the position. Safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Deone Bucannon, though very young, should be improved after experiencing some growing pains last year. A replacement for the mountainous Williams wasn’t found...

Seattle Seahawks Predictions

2015 Seattle Seahawks Predictions: 1st NFC West (2014 record: 12-4) Head Coach: Pete Carroll NFC West Division Odds: -500 Super Bowl Champion Odds: +300 Season Win Totals Over-Under Odds: Over 11 (-125), Under 11 (-105) Key Additions: Jimmy Graham (TE), Cary Williams (CB), Frank Clark (DE/OLB) Key Losses: Byron Maxwell (CB), Max Unger (C), Malcolm Smith (LB) The Seahawks were one bone-headed play call away from becoming the first repeat NFL champion in a decade. Instead, they had to travel back to Seattle with their tails tucked between their legs and find a way to recover from that inexplicable gaffe. Enter TE Jimmy Graham, a perfect complement to the offensive weapons that remain in place. Defense The squad that limited the opposition to just under seventeen points per game returns almost completely intact. The lone exception is the tradeoff of former Eagle Cary Williams for Byron Maxwell at corner. They’re very similar, but nobody will notice because the rest of the secondary is dominant; nobody can match the triumvirate of Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and Earl Thomas. The rest of the defense returns and is equally outstanding – and they get a (literally) big piece back from a late-season injury. DT Brandon Mebane missed the last couple of months and the playoffs with a bad hammy; Carolina and Green Bay were able to run successfully in his absence, and he’ll be a welcomed returnee. The Hawks also added another pass rushing threat by drafting Frank Clark for some added depth. Nobody was able to step in for Michael Bennett when he was injured against the Pats and it was...

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Predictions

2015 Tampa Bay Predictions: 4th NFC South (2014 record: 2-14) Head Coach: Lovie Smith NFC South Division Odds: +600 Super Bowl Champion Odds: +7500 Season Win Totals Over-Under Odds: Over 6 (-130), Under 6 (even) Key Additions: Jameis Winston (QB), Ali Marpet (OL), George Johnson (DE) Key Losses: Josh McCown (QB), Adrian Clayborn (DE), Michael Johnson (DE) It was pretty apparent that the tank was on for the Bucs last season. The experiment of Josh McCown and Mike Glennon under center was a failure; RB Doug Martin was horrible when he was actually able to make it onto the field; and the defense was one of the more porous in the league. Despite the failures, there was some light at the end of the tunnel in young players like WE Mike Evans, LB Lavonte David, DT Gerald McCoy, and CB Alterraun Verner. Adding #1 pick Winston certainly won’t hurt either. Defense We mentioned three great defensive building blocks above. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much it on this side of the ball. In fact, the Bucs have no idea who’s going be starting on the line alongside McCoy, as many of the other linemen from 2014 are gone and they have a slew of unknown names in camp vying for spots. George Johnson is probably the best bet to see the most time. He was solid as a part-timer in Detroit. Da’Quan Bowers was brought back for another year, though we fail to see why. He’s been a colossal bust since day one. David will again be the dominant player in the middle of the defense – and, quite possibly, the...

Atlanta Falcons Predictions

2015 Atlanta Falcons Predictions: 3rd NFC South (2014 record: 6-10) Head Coach: Dan Quinn NFC South Division Odds: +150 Super Bowl Champion Odds: +3000 Season Win Totals Over-Under Odds: Over 8.5 (even), Under 8.5 (-130) Key Additions: Tevin Coleman (RB), Vic Beasley (DE/OLB), Adrian Clayborn (DE) Key Losses: Steven Jackson (RB), Jacquizz Rodgers (RB), Harry Douglas (WR) For the past decade or so, offense has never been an issue for Atlanta; weapons like Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White, Michael Turner, and the rest have always produced well under former head coach Mike Smith and his ‘Air Coryell’ style. Last season, despite the efforts of QB Matt Ryan, the team was unable to remain efficient on offense and that, when combined with another porous defense, spelled doom for the Smith regime. Enter defensive guru Dan Quinn and a new era for the franchise. Defense Quinn’s defenses have always been some of the most physical in the league, usually led by a strong pass rush and a dominant secondary. So it makes sense that the team’s first two draft picks were Beasley, who dominated at Clemson last season, and Jalen Collins, a big cornerback. If he wins that CB slot, he’ll start next to a really good, physical CB in Desmond Trufant. If not, he’ll be an upgrade in the nickel package. The safety position isn’t as fortunate; upgrades were needed by not addressed. Deep throws could be a problem, especially if the perpetually anemic pass rush doesn’t improve drastically. Twenty-two sacks in a passing league is completely unacceptable. Beasley and Clayborn should help immediately, especially if the latter has fully recovered...