San Francisco 49ers, FLAT: There haven't been many developments out of San Francisco over the past month. During this time of the year, no news can be good news, and that seems to be the case with the 49ers. The team bet the farm on Colin Kaepernick by letting Alex Smith go; now it's time to see if Kaepernick's playoff run was a fluke or if it was the real deal.
Seattle Seahawks, FLAT: Like the 49ers, the Seahawks' success or failure largely depends on their quarterback, but with fewer supporting players, Russell Wilson's job is that much more difficult than Kaepernick's. Seattle has an energetic team with a level headed coach, something that can't always be said of the 49ers. The Seahawks and 49ers are very similar teams, and the division champion will almost certainly be determined by the two meetings between the teams.
St. Louis Rams, RISING: The NFC West used to be known as the worst division in football, but that's no longer the case. It's a division that's contracting in terms of competition, but every team is getting better too. The Rams took a big step forward under Jeff Fisher, but the offense was still lacking. Despite a solid defensive unit, the Rams aren't there yet. Combined with being in one of the most competitive divisions, the Rams will be better, but it may not be reflected in their record.
Arizona Cardinals, RISING: The Cardinals are in the same boat as the Rams. They've made improvements to their roster, but that won't get them into the playoffs this season. Carson Palmer gives the team a legitimate quarterback, and if Bruce Arians can work some magic, the Cardinals will be a tough team week in and week out.
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