1.) Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Finally broke the hex of Super Bowl runner-ups not returning to the playoffs. That was with QB Matt Hasselbeck and RB Shaun Alexander all banged up for lengthy periods. Nobody else in the division has had a winning record since 2003 and this year the NFC West will be no different.
2.) St. Louis Rams (9-7): Mark Bulger at QB, Steven Jackson at RB, Torry Holt and the ageless holdover from the Los Angeles Rams Isaac Bruce at WR this team is stacked again on offense. Did I mention they brought in Dante Hall from the KC Chiefs to return kicks? What an explosive team on the turf to say the least. Now as is always the story, if they improve that defense just a little, they'll be contenders in this conference for a playoff spot.
3.) San Francisco 49ers (6-10): This team is making some strides, especially with RB Frank Gore and QB Alex Smith. They aren't quite ready to play with the big boys just yet, getting spanked by the majority of playoff teams they played last year. They'll also have to improve on their turnover differential.
4.) Arizona Cardinals (5-11): So sing me another verse, same as the other verse and waltz me around 'till I'm silly. In the desert they've been through "Buddy Ball," Vince Tobin was supposed to be the next young hot shot coach from the Colts and then they brought in a perrenial winner from his Vikings days in Denny Green, but the Cardinals still remain to be who we thought they were and know them to be. Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm will have to work with a patchwork O-line. How bad was it? With Edgerrin James the Cards ranked 30th in the league in rushing. Their secondary got shredded up pretty badly too, but at least they have that new stadium, site of the Super Bowl they won't be playing in.