NFC West preview

By By Jason Peterson

By Jason Peterson

Seattle Seahawks (11-5)

Shaun Alexander is back! And he’s going to take entire defenses out behind the tool shed for a severe beating. When healthy, the Seahawks are scary good. Small children in the stadium start crying. LB Julian Peterson and off-season acquisition Patrick Kerney will go WWE and tag-team against opposing linemen with clotheslines and metal chairs. Deion Branch and D.J. Hackett will be stud QB Matt Hasselbeck’s favorite targets while TE Marcus Pollard and FS Deon Grant are nice pickups for a Seahawks team that is arguably better than the Super Bowl edition in 2005. Losing WR Darrell Jackson to their division rival San Francisco made zero-sense, though.

Biggest addition: DE Patrick Kerney (Free Agency)

Biggest loss: WR Darrell Jackson (Trade)

Circle your calendar: Nov. 18 vs. Chicago Bears

San Francisco 49ers (9-7)

Mark these words: The 49ers will have a winning record this year. Alex Smith will break out and become the next great 49er QB as we all imagined he could be. Who would’ve guessed the 49ers could be sexy again? TE Vernon Davis and RB Frank Gore are bulls who will head-butt their way through defenses and brick walls if they want. The defense underwent plastic surgery and will start five new players including CB Nate Clements, SS Michael Lewis and rookie LB Patrick Willis. Whether they improve or not in 2007, San Francisco fans can’t blame them for lack of trying.

Biggest addition: CB Nate Clements (Free Agency)

Biggest loss: TE Eric Johnson (Free Agency)

Circle your calendar: Sept. 30 vs. Seattle Seahawks

St. Louis Rams (8-8)

The Rams can score on other teams all day. The only problem is that other teams can score on them all day as well. Their defense is atrocious against the run (31st in the NFL) so what do they do? Draft a rookie, giving him the starting spot and hope he can fix the problem? Of course. Adam Carriker, a 6-foot-6, 308-pounder, is certainly big enough to plug some holes, but not the size of the one the Rams have. RB Steven Jackson and QB Marc Bulger along with new additions TE Randy McMichael and WR Drew Bennett should keep the Turf Show going.

Biggest addition: TE Randy McMichael (Free Agency)

Biggest loss: RB Marshall Faulk (officially) (Retirement)

Circle your calendar: Dec. 20 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Arizona Cardinals (7-9)

Coaches Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm have arrived from Pittsburgh to create the Steelers of the West. Matt Leinhart is going to explode this season because wideouts Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin have the ability to multiply on the field so that Leinhart can actually choose from 13 receivers. If RB Edgerrin James is used the same way Pittsburgh likes to use their runners, this team could easily be second in the division. Rookie Levi Brown, the fifth pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, and C Al Johnson revamp the frontline to protect Leinhart’s limbs.

Biggest addition: OT Levi Brown (Rookie)

Biggest loss: DE Chike Okeafor (Injury)

Circle your calendar: Sept. 23 @ Baltimore Ravens