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We end this NFL Preview excursion with the less-than-appreciated NFC West. Now, I don’t expect the next Super Bowl winner to come out of this division, but there are still some teams that can determine who does.

Seattle Seahawks

Mike Holmgren

Outlook
They’ve been the best team in the NFC West for a few years now. Is this the year the Seahawks relinquish the division crown? Are the rest of the NFC West teams ready to step-up and knock Seattle off? Until I see it, I’m saying no. The Seahawks still have Matt Hasselbeck, a potent defense and the best home field advantage in the NFL. Of course, if they are going to do more than just win the West and lose in the first round of the playoffs, the Seahawks need their offense to step up around their Pro Bowl-level quarterback.

The running game is all new as Shaun Alexander left town after becoming more and more ineffective. Enter free agent Julius Jones and Maurice Morris, Alexander’s replacement last season. If these two are productive, the Seahawks could sneak up on a lot of opponents. The key is keeping Hasselbeck and the defense healthy.

10-6 and the NFC West championship.

Hottest Seahawks Cheerleader
Say hi to Sea Gal Natalie, one of many lookers on the Seahawks cheerleading team.

Natalie

Arizona Cardinals

Kurt Warner

Outlook
Kurt Warner or Matt Leinart? That’s the decision facing the Cardinals team and to start the season, it looks like Warner gets the nod. What does this mean for Leinart? Is he done before he starts or will the USC ace get a chance at redemption? That all depends on Warner, a former two-time MVP and his stable of receivers he throws to.

While the Cardinals have a stout passing attack, questions remain about the rest of the team. Can they stop anyone? Can they run the ball effectively? Is Edgerrin James done? Until these questions get answered, it’s hard to put the Cardinals in the playoffs.

A repeat of 8-8.

Hottest Seahawks Cheerleader
Say hello to Megan J. She represents the Cardinals cheerleaders very well.

Megan J

St Louis Rams

Marc Bulger

Outlook
The key to the Rams season is simply this — stay injury free. I wrote a long outlook for the Rams over at Epic Carnival and essentially, if the Rams stay healthy, they have the talent to wrest the NFC West away from the Seahawks. If not, 3-13 seems likely. Again.

Will Chris Long and Leonard Little give the Rams a pass-rushing tandem, similar to what the New York Giants had last year? Can Tori Holt continue to produce at his Pro Bowl level? Is Stephen Jackson ready to play after holding out for a new contract? Will the offensive line protect their franchise quarterback?

If the answers to these questions are in the positive, look for a bounce-back season for St Louis. If not, 3-13 will rear its head again.

Until I see more, 7-9.

Hottest Rams Cheerleader
Even though they don’t have individual pages for their squad members, I was able to find this image of Kelly, my choice to represent the Rams cheerleaders.

Kelly

San Francisco 49ers

Frank Gore

Outlook
Positives — Frank Gore, the defense. Negatives (or uncertainties) — everything else. These aren’t your daddy’s 49ers. In fact, they look like they came from Tampa Bay’s history instead from one that includes Joe Montana, Steve Young and Jerry Rice. Those, obviously, were the days.

Now the 49ers face journeymen quarterbacks starting over overall number one picks, a stable of skill positions — save Gore — who are extremely unknown. Is this the type of team you expect great things out of? No. The 49ers might be one of the worst teams in the NFL and my prediction reflects that:

4-12.

Hottest 49ers Cheerleader
While their football team might be lacking, their cheerleading team is most definitely not. With that in mind, allow me to introduce you to Helen. She’s certainly a winner, like the rest of her teammates.

Frank Gore

Maybe they can transfer some of their “win” to the football team.