The NFC West was the butt of many jokes a year ago, but the division as a whole is improving.
If all four teams are going to accomplish that, each team has to manage to survive its brutal schedule.
In addition to playing each other twice during the year, the NFC West teams will square off against teams from the NFC North and AFC East.
That being said, here's a breakdown of each team's upcoming season.
San Francisco 49ers
Home: Week 2 vs. Detroit, Week 5 vs. Buffalo, Week 6 vs. New York Giants, Week 7 vs. Seattle, Week 10 vs. St. Louis, Week 11 vs. Chicago, Week 14 vs. Miami, Week 17 vs. Arizona
Will the 49ers Make the Super Bowl?
Bye: Week 9
Most Exciting Matchup: Week 15 vs. New England.
Deep into the season, we'll have an excellent idea where both teams stand. It's possible this could be a Super Bowl preview, and there is no doubt both teams will use this game as a means to measure just how good they really are.
2012 Prediction: 11-5
Home: Week 1 vs. Seattle, Week 3 vs. Philadelphia, Week 4 vs. Miami, Week 6 vs. Buffalo, Week 8 vs. San Francisco, Week 12 vs. St. Louis, Week 15 vs. Detroit, Week 16 vs. Chicago
Away: Week 2 vs. New England, Week 5 vs. St. Louis, Week 7 vs. Minnesota, Week 9 vs. Green Bay, Week 11 vs. Atlanta, Week 13 vs. New York Jets, Week 14 vs. Seattle, Week 17 vs. San Francisco
Bye: Week 10
Most Exciting Matchup: Week 3 vs. Philadelphia.
Kevin Kolb was injured last year so he didn't get the chance to play against his former team. Seeing as how the Cardinals opted to pay Kolb this offseason, chances are very strong that he'll be the starter. Going head to head against his former team will be very thrilling to watch.
2012 Prediction: 6-10
Home: Week 2 vs. Dallas, Week 3 vs. Green Bay, Week 6 vs. New England, Week 9 vs. Minnesota, Week 10 vs. New York Jets, Week 14 vs. Arizona, Week 16 vs. San Francisco, Week 17 vs. St. Louis
Away: Week 1 vs. Arizona, Week 4 vs. St. Louis, Week 5 vs. Carolina, Week 7 vs. San Francisco, Week 8 vs. Detroit, Week 12 vs. Miami, Week 13 vs. Chicago, Week 15 vs. Buffalo
Bye: Week 11
Most Exciting Matchup: Week 3 vs. Green Bay.
Pete Carroll told WQAM in Miami, via SportsRadioInterviews.com, that there will be an open QB race for the starting job. Despite that, I still think Matt Flynn wins it, so it'll be fantastic to sit back and watch him take on his former team and go head to head with Aaron Rodgers.
2012 Prediction: 7-9
St. Louis Rams
Who Will Win the NFC West in 2012?
Away: Week 1 vs. Detroit, Week 3 vs. Chicago, Week 6 vs. Miami, Week 10 vs. San Francisco, Week 12 vs. Arizona, Week 14 vs. Buffalo, Week 16 vs. Tampa Bay, Week 17 vs. Seattle
Bye: Week 9
Most Exciting Matchup: Week 2 vs. Washington.
All signs are pointing to the Redskins picking Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 overall pick. Seeing two Heisman Trophy winners go toe to toe against each other will be great. Plus, since both teams had a very rough season a year ago, this game will be able to tell a lot about the progress each team has made in a year.
2012 Prediction: 4-12