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There is plenty of time between now, preseason and the regular season, but the moves each team has made should serve as a fair determiner for their direction heading into the 2011-2012 season.
1) Arizona hasn't changed much from the Super Bowl season but needed to recover from the loss of Kurt Warner. Kevin Kolb is billed as franchise quarterback material, but only time will tell.
The Cardinals should be the favorites to start the season with Larry Fitzgerald being one of the best receivers in the NFL and Kolb having great potential to succeed in Arizona.
Prediction: 9-7 (Division Champions)
2) St. Louis is definitely on the rise, but needs to improve on offense. The defense finished 12th in the NFL, but the offense lacked playmakers for quarterback Sam Bradford.
Adding Mike Sims-Walker should help that situation, and take the pressure off of both Bradford and Steven Jackson. It should allow the offense to be multi-dimensional where they were predictable last season.
3) Seattle has added some solid players on offense with Sidney Rice, Tarvaris Jackson, and Robert Gallery, but the quarterback situation is still uncertain.
The defense becomes the primary concern, and the Seahawks haven't made significant improvements over the unit that finished 25th in the league last season.
4) San Francisco is a bit of an enigma at this point. If they are just biding their time this offseason, waiting for the better deals to come along, their fate could change. Until then, they have all the makings of a team bound for the first overall pick in the 2012 draft.
It may take some time before the NFC West poses a threat to the other divisions as the NFL's best, but there is plenty of talent to make a serious run in the next few years. It won't be pretty in this season, but Arizona is the furthest remove from a wholesale rebuild and should take the division crown.