The NFC West: A Real Contender?

Jonathan HendleContributor IMay 14, 2009

Predicting the Rams to make it to the playoffs in 2009 is like predicting that Terrell Owens won't be in the news this year. It ain't gonna happen.

With the conference champs and a bitter rival in the northwest, the Rams would have to pull off a miracle to even break a 500 record.

Although Seattle didn’t put up many wins last year they still managed to defeat the Rams both times they faced them.

Come to think of it, the last time they did pull a W against them was in 2004, the same year they made it into the playoffs with an 8-8 record as a wild card. Since '04 the Rams have put together an embarrassing record of 19-45, to beat only the Lions and Raiders, and we all know what kind of teams those are.

All in all the NFC West isn't a push-over but it's not the most intimidating division either.

With the Cards being a huge sleeper in the playoffs last year I'm not really sure how they will react to another season as they will need to evaluate the arm of one of my personal favorites the battered veteran Kurt Warner.

He underwent surgery for a torn Labrum during the offseason, an injury which was present during the '08 season. He and his star receivers will go back to work as the leagues premier passing threat.

Seattle has always been a close competitor to St. Louis but has never quite sealed the deal, since 2003 they've played in eight playoff games along with a Super Bowl appearance.

After a lackluster 4-12 finish last season they hope to have a healthy and ready to go Matt Hasselbeck this season after coming off a back injury midway through last season which cost him nine games. He has been working out during the offseason to rehabilitate his back and says that he has a much stronger arm than last season, which will be put to the test with offensive coordinator Greg Knapp's new system.

He says that there's definitely a difference in his play now that he has to learn some new schemes and plays. So as long as he can get back to the standard he was playing at in 2007, the Seahawks should put up at least eight wins this season.

The 49ers have a lot of work to do to become a better team. With newly acquired star Michael Crabtree adding a new dimension to their passing game along with fellow receiver Isaac Bruce having a solid season last year with 61 catches and seven touchdowns.

J.T. O'Sullivan and Shaun Hill combined for a very impressive 3,724 yards and 21 touchdowns las year. They could have a very good chance to become one of the top passing teams in the league in '09.

Running back Frank Gore is also an exceptional player becoming the only player in 49ers history to have 1,000 yards in three straight seasons. They have a very good chance at winning more than their share of games, as San Francisco fans have been lacking something to cheer about for the past few years.

They have completely turned around and I believe that they are a sleeper this season. 

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