The San Francisco 49ers are the overwhelming favorites to win the NFC West. Of 16 ESPN analysts to fill out thier picks for the 2012-13 season, just one of them picked the Arizona Cardinals to win the division.
AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley was the one to pick the Cardinals, and said that it mostly had to do with his lack of trust in 49ers quarterback Alex Smith.
“Obviously, the choice for the NFC West winner would’ve been different if the 49ers had lured Peyton Manning to San Francisco. And one of the big reasons why I chose Arizona is my lack of confidence in Alex Smith repeating last year’s success.”
Hensley wasn’t oblivious to the quarterback battle here in Arizona either, but said that the talent of Larry Fitzgerald and the coaching ability of Ken Whisenhunt was enough for him to pick the Cardinals.
“Don’t get me wrong. There is concern at the quarterback position and the offensive line. I just think their talent at the skill positions on offense, namely Larry Fitzgerald, is good enough to offset those question marks. Plus, coach Ken Whisenhunt is undervalued as a coach in his ability to get the most out of his teams.”
Hensley added that while all of the focus has been on the quarterbacks, the Cardinals have flown below the radar with a defense that is underrated.
The Seattle Seahawks also received one vote.