NFC West Notebook―Special L.A. Confident(ial) Edition

Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images /
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(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Falling Apart Like A House Of Cards

If you read last week’s NFC West Notebook, you know I had lofty expectations for the Arizona Cardinals, and even took Las Vegas to task for not giving bettors an intriguing enough spread. I can’t help but bristle at my own hubris, even going so far as to write: “If you’re of the gambling persuasion, I’d take the Cardinals beating the spread any day of the week. But especially Sunday.” 

And then Carson Palmer threw three interceptions and David Johnson—who I used the number one pick in my league’s fantasy draft on—went down with a wrist injury and is not expected to return for 8-12 weeks. Scott Allen over at Raising Zona isn’t as pessimistic as I am about the upcoming running back by committee dance that’s going to need to happen for some time in Phoenix. (Perhaps he didn’t draft David Johnson in his fantasy league, and isn’t scrambling to fill that void not only in his team, but his heart.)

So after looking dreadful and then losing their best player last Sunday, what’s the road ahead look like for the Cardinals?

Well, if you were trying to win back the money you threw away against the Lions, the Cardinals are up against the lowly Colts—who our Southern California rivals the Rams beat handily in Week 1 (more on that soon)—and Vegas is handicapping the Cardinals’ score by at least a touchdown. In fact, the spread has increased in the last few days from -7 or -7.5 up to -8.5. Make of that what you will, as I’ve proven myself entirely unfit to recommend solid sports bets. I’d love to tell you the Cardinals will beat the stuffing out of the Colts, especially as Andrew Luck may not be back until October, but… well, I am just not sure that’s going to happen. Not by more than a touchdown, at least.

My prediction: Arizona Cardinals 24 – Indianapolis Colts 20

For the Seahawks, however, Arizona’s troubles come as some relief

The one team I was most worried about perhaps being a threat to Seattle taking the NFC West crown have been brought to their knees. This buys the Seahawks some time to figure out what exactly is going on with the offensive line and their crowded stable of running backs. Lacy looked dismal in his return to Lambeau Field, Carson shined and Prosise may have been underutilized. With Rawls returning, perhaps even as soon as Sunday, some hard calls will need to be made by Pete Carroll and his coaching staff soon. And not all of those hard calls may be about the RB depth chart.

Because, like, let’s be real here—that offensive line, which everyone seemed to realize was a huge problem last year, and yet no one really did much about during the draft or in free agency, is, unsurprisingly, still a huge problem.

And I’m going to be a bit controversial here and not blame Tom Cable. That man somehow MacGyvered together a makeshift line last year out of spare parts. I think had the team taken this weakness a bit more seriously then Cable would be overseeing a humming machine. Until that glorious day, Russ is going to have to scramble like his life depends on it, and the running backs are going to have to pray holes can be made or bounce to the outside. This may provide an opportunity for C.J. Prosise to shine, as the kid has hands, and in the absence of a proper running game perhaps a back who can catch and make the most of his targets is the short term answer. It at least mixes things up.

The Cardinals struggling out of the gate, and looking destined to struggle without one of the best players in the NFL, gives the Seahawks some breathing room and Cable a little more time to try to make the most out of the players he has. Strangely, now we have to hope for the Los Angeles Rams to slow their roll. And that’s a sentence I wasn’t prepared to write this year.