Let's face it, the NFC West was pretty spread out last year. This year, I expect things to be a little different, with teams gaining strength and momentum.
Undoubtedly, the Arizona Cardinals will be a powerhouse, as they appear to be getting stronger by the day in the offseason. The return of quarterback Kurt Warner has provided a great morale boost to the organization, so we can expect to see him work his magic on the turf. On the other hand, the Cards need to fill in the gaps defensively if they are going to have a shot at winning another title. The team's 2009 schedule will definitely be challenging.
The 49ers are steadily gaining strength and are expected to improve their offense by focusing on a strong running game. The offensive line needs some work as well, to keep the quarterback up on his feet.
Last year, Seattle seemed to gain most publicity through its injury reports. With top-gun quarterback Matt Hasselbeck healed and ready for action, the Seahawks' offense should put up some good numbers this year. However, its defense needs some work if the team is going to make a run at a conference championship.
Finally, the St. Louis Rams will face the same rough schedule as its fellow NFC West constituents. Gaining Jason Smith will certainly add to their strength at left tackle, but the rest of the squad has not put up very impressive stats. Its defense performed dismally last season, so they need to reorganize their game if they want a shot at winning.
The NFC West division will be great to watch this year, especially with the Cardinals coming off a conference win and impressive show at the Super Bowl. The Cards have a good shot at winning another title this season as many of the teams in their conference can't keep up with the lightning-fast offense that the Cards possess.