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Seattle is in prime position to challenge for the NFC West title.
It wasn't too long ago that the NFC West was the laughingstock of the NFL. Remember when it put a below-.500 Seattle Seahawks team into the playoffs? Now remember the backlash that it brought around the league.
Fast-forward three seasons, and this is the best division in the entire league.
It boasts the reigning NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, who are fully prepared to repeat as conference champions after a stellar offseason.
It boasts a Seattle Seahawks team that might be primed to knock off the 49ers as the best unit in the division. If not, Seattle will be in a mighty fine position to nab a playoff spot and contend for a conference crown come January.
In reality, it could easily be concluded that San Francisco and Seattle are the two best teams in the NFC at this point.
Bad news for the rest of the NFC West, right? Not too fast, my friends.
The St. Louis Rams, coming off an extremely productive 2012 campaign, loaded up on talent on the offensive side of the ball via both the draft and free agency. The acquisition of franchise left tackle Jake Long will help protect quarterback Sam Bradford more than we have seen in the past.
In addition, St. Louis brought in two talented youngsters at skill positions. Veteran tight end Jared Cook comes over from the Tennessee Titans and can stretch the field between the hashes.
Flush with picks from the Robert Griffin III trade, St. Louis had the ability to trade up for the ultra-athletic Tavon Austin in the first round of April's draft. The West Virginia product should be able to provide Bradford with a consistent weapon in the passing game.
This doesn't even take into account a vastly improved defense that boasts one of the best lines in the entire league. The likes of Chris Long, Robert Quinn and Michael Brockers will make it difficult for opposing offenses to have any type of success in the trenches.
While St. Louis might be a step or two behind San Francisco and Seattle in the race for the division crown, there is no reason to believe it cannot content for a playoff spot.
Arizona, on the other hand, is looking up from the basement for some glimmer of light.