1. Seattle Seahawks
This could be the last time for the current group of veterans to win another Super Bowl together.
2. Arizona Cardinals
Father time is catching up with the Cards at the quarterback and wide receiver positions.
3. Los Angeles Rams
A lot of optimism with the new coaching staff and their plans for a more potent offensive scheme.
4. San Francisco 49ers
From top to bottom this franchise had to be dismantled and rebuilt.
Head Coach: Pete Carroll
Key Position: Offensive Line
There was no running game to speak of and if it wasn’t for Russell Wilson’s mobility, he could have missed a lot more games last season. This unit has to be better and having a big guy like Eddie Lacy rushing the ball should help a bit.
Key Acquisitions: DL Sheldon Richardson (New York Jets), G Luke Joeckel (Jacksonville Jaguars), K Blair Walsh (Minnesota Vikings), LB Michael Wilhoite (San Francisco 49ers), RB Eddie Lacy (Green Bay Packers)
Key Rookies: DT Malik McDowell, OL Ethan Pocic
Head Coach: Bruce Arians
Key Position: Quarterback
At some point this will be a problem for the Cardinals if Palmer goes down due to an injury or he starts to wear down. Having Gabbert is putting a band-aid on the problem, but sooner rather than later they’ll have to address it.
Key Acquisitions: CB Tramon Williams (Cleveland Browns), LB Karlos Dansby (Cincinnati Bengals), K Phil Dawson (San Francisco 49ers), LB Jarvis Jones (Pittsburgh Steelers), QB Blaine Gabbert (San Francisco 49ers), S Antoine Bethea (San Francisco 49ers), G Alex Boone (Minnesota Vikings)
Key Rookies: LB Haason Reddick, S Budda Baker
Head Coach: Sean McVay (Washington Redskins)
Key Position: Offense
The defense was actually solid last year, but they couldn’t overcome a dreadful offense that ranked last in the league. Jared Goff has a better system to work with under new head coach Sean McVay and a better cast to throw the ball to this year than he did last season.
Key Acquisitions: C John Sullivan (Washington Redskins), CB Kayvon Webster (Denver Broncos), LB Connor Barwin (Philadelphia Eagles), T Andrew Whitworth (Cincinnati Bengals), WR Sammy Watkins (Buffalo Bills), WR Robert Woods (Buffalo Bills)
Key Rookies: TE Gerald Everett, WR Cooper Kupp
Head Coach: Kyle Shanahan (Atlanta Falcons)
Key Position: Everything
No team experienced as much roster turnover as the Niners did. It was a necessary move in order to bring back some much needed credibility in football circles for a once proud franchise mired in its worst two year stretch in recent memory.
Key Acquisitions: FB Kyle Juszczyk (Baltimore Ravens), K Robbie Gould (New York Giants), LB Elvis Dumervil (Baltimore Ravens), DT Earl Mitchell (Miami Dolphins), G Brandon Fusco (Minnesota Vikings), QB Brian Hoyer (Chicago Bears), TE Logan Paulsen (Chicago Bears), WR Pierre Garcon (Washington Redskins), WR Marquise Goodwin (Buffalo Bills), WR Aldrick Robinson (Atlanta Falcons)
Key Rookies: DE Solomon Thomas, LB Reuben Foster, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, TE George Kittle