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Everyone knows this division is the perennial weak link in the NFC. With the Arizona Cardinals officially hitting “rebuilding” status, by inexplicably giving up on Matt Leinart and finally letting Anquan Boldin go, the 49ers are looking to jump at the opportunity. Come to think of it, San Francisco seems to have the only team that isn’t in transition mode. That doesn’t bode well for a division that already has trouble gathering viewers.
1. 49ers – If San Fran can stay healthy and their young stars (Alex Smith, Michael Crabtree, Frank Gore) can live up to the hype, the Niners should make their return to playoff football this season as division champs.
2. Cardinals – With Kurt Warner retiring and Anquan Boldin sent east to Baltimore, the Cards turn to Derek Anderson to lead what should be a very different offense this upcoming season.
3. Seahawks – New head coach Pete Carroll will take his first shot at reviving this Seahawks franchise, but it won’t happen overnight.
4. Rams – Rookie QB Sam Bradford is ready to take his lumps and learn on the fly, as St. Louis aims to climb out of the division’s cellar spot. Not this year, boys.
1. 49ers – Mike Singletary brings the Niners back to prominence with the league’s best linebacker leading the defense he emphasizes as the forefront of the team. Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree make for an offense that will be productive enough to lead the league’s worst division.
2. Cardinals – Larry Fitzgerald is basically worthless with Derek Anderson throwing the ball to him, especially without Anquan Boldin to take away some of the pressure. Their defense still has Darnell Dockett, who just signed for a couple more years, but just lost Adrian Wilson and will pay for it in pass coverage.
3. Rams – Underrated offense, and Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, Devin Aromashodu and Donnie Avery (out for the season) will make for long-term production in St. Louis. Unfortunately, they’ll have to wait a couple years for it to click.
4. Seahawks – They will shock New England fans at the bottom of the division, as we all know how good of an NFL coach Pete Carroll has proven himself to be.
1. 49ers – With Kurt Warner retiring, now is the 49ers’ time to take the division, and they will.
2. Cardinals – With Derek Anderson at starter following an ugly competition, Larry Fitzgerald and others will be neutralized for a good chunk of the time.
3. Seahawks – Pete Carroll will have his hands full with an iffy Seahawks team.
4. Rams – It won’t be a complete bust, but Sam Bradford will be the biggest waste of money since Josh Beckett was given his new deal and stopped trying.
1. 49ers – Year after year, the NFC West proves to be the worst division in football. Expect the Niners to emerge from the pack with a 9-7 record.
2. Cardinals – Without the retiring Kurt Warner at the helm, there are a lot of questions with the Cardinals.
3. Seahawks – Seattle is a team in disarray, and Pete Carroll may have a rough first year with the ‘Hawks.
4. Rams – The 2010 Rams are one of the least talented teams in NFL history. Seriously.