The Arizona Cardinals & The Wild NFC West

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Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) reacts against the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Seahawks

19 days, 2 hours, 55 minutes, 7 seconds. That is the amount of time until the Seattle Seahawks kick off the 2014 NFL season with a doozy against the Packers at what should be a thunderous Century Field. After all why shouldn’t the fans be beside themselves? Coming off of the first Super Bowl in franchise history and once again picked to repeat by most panels of experts, the weather has been the only thing that’s gloomy in Seattle these days.

As head coach Pete Carroll so elegantly put it, “We are just getting warmed up.” Sorry to tell you Pete, but your division might have something to say about that. Enter the 2014 bloodbath drag out fight that is sure to be the NFC West. In order to even get back to the Super Bowl it’s imperative for Seattle to win the NFC West again and cash in on the home-field advantage (through at least one playoff game) that comes with it. Even the most optimistic Seahawks fan would tell you that this team would be hard pressed to win 3 straight playoff games on the road. Just take a look at four years ago when Seattle won the NFC West with a 7-9 record, now to say those days of division mediocrity is over would be a ginormous understatement.

While the Seahawks dominated most of the 2013 season, there was also a team out in Arizona quietly rebounding from a 3-4 start to finish with 10 victories, with the icing on the cake coming in a week 16 victory in Seattle. As formidable a threat as Arizona seems this season, the 49ers will once again return to play the role as Seattle’s arch-enemy. People are so quick to forget, if it wasn’t for a tipped pass by Richard Sherman the 49ers would have represented the NFC in last year’s Super Bowl, not Seattle. With Arizona and San Francisco being the clear-cut contenders to dethrone Seattle, St. Louis is not far behind and after a 7-9 season may be poised to finally take the next step led by what is arguably the best front seven in football.

These statements and arguments could have easily been made just after Seattle’s Super Bowl victory. However, after the NFL Draft and full offseason it appears now the gap in the NFC West has shrunk even more. No longer is it a question as to “if” Seattle will be knocked off its division pedestal but when.