The San Francisco 49ers host the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon, but the NFC West will have a pair of interesting matchups today. The Seattle Seahawks head east to face the Carolina Panthers, while the St. Louis Rams host the Arizona Cardinals.
The Seahawks went into Carolina last season and escaped with a 16-12 victory. That was early in the Russell Wilson era, so I'd say that qualifies as a pretty solid win. They now head back a year later with a more seasoned Wilson. They face a Panthers squad that is trying to bounce back from what was a rather disappointing 2012 season. I picked the Panthers to win this one, even as they sit as 3.5 point underdogs.
I suppose I just have a hunch, although I'm sure a little bias seeped in there. I just think Carolina can pull this off. Seattle is very talented, but going on the road is always tough, even for the best teams. Winning in Carolina doesn't set them off to the Super Bowl, but it would be a strong win for Seattle to open the season.
The NFC West gets its first divisional matchup as the St. Louis Rams host the Arizona Cardinals. Before losing Jonathan Cooper, I thought the Cardinals could be a spoiler. While they still will surprise some teams, losing a potential huge upgrade on the offensive line is a pretty big loss. My faith in their potential has been based in part on Carson Palmer staying on his feet. Losing a big cog on the offensive line does not help with that.
The Rams are an intriguing team this year. They need to actually execute on the field, but they've added some very solid talent. They are sitting as a four point favorite over the Cardinals, but if they can get pressure on Palmer, they could win this one comfortably.
How do you see Week 1 of the NFC West going?