Analysis

2016 playoff predictions: NFC West

On the cusp of the 2016 NFL season, our analysts provide their picks for the major individual awards and playoff predictions for each conference. Check back Friday to see Championship Sunday/Super Bowl forecasts.

NFC WEST

Judy Battista: Arizona Cardinals. They and the Seahawks could flip spots, but the Cardinals' powerhouse offense -- which set a franchise record for points scored last year -- could be the difference maker.

Jeffri Chadiha: Cardinals. The Cardinals have talent up and down their roster, with defensive end Chandler Jones giving them the pass rusher they desperately need.

Gil Brandt: Cardinals. With an improved defense (thanks largely to Chandler Jones), the Cardinals will edge the Seahawks in a very close race.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Seattle Seahawks. Even without Beast Mode, Seattle is going to take back the West.

Brian Billick: Cardinals. Arguably the most complete roster from top to bottom in the NFL, the Cardinals can win by putting up 40 points or pitching a defensive shutout.

Gregg Rosenthal: Seahawks. Their defense is as loaded as ever and Russell Wilson's young receiver group has a chance to grow up with him.

Willie McGinest: Cardinals. This team just has so much talent and the right man leading the way.

Adam Schein: Cardinals. 1-53, the Arizona Cardinals have the most talented roster in the NFL.

Bucky Brooks: Seahawks. The "Legion of Boom" helps the Seahawks' D rank as the top-scoring defense for the fifth straight season. With Russell Wilson and Co. lighting it up on offense, the Seahawks head into the playoffs with the NFC's No. 1 seed.

Elliot Harrison: Cardinals. The Cardinals might not have enjoyed a fantastic preseason on multiple levels, but they can still equal the talent level of any team in the league. Carson Palmer must fare better than he did in the postseason.

David Carr: Cardinals. They are probably the most complete team in the league, despite struggling a bit in the preseason.

Charley Casserly: Cardinals. Throw out the preseason. The Cards will edge out Seattle.

Ike Taylor: Seahawks. The defense has proven it can lead this team far. The run game should open up the pass for Russell Wilson and Co., getting them back to the top of the NFC West.

Dave Dameshek: Seahawks. In the latest NFC West Juggernaut head-to-head rivalry, I'll take the team with Wilson over the one with Palmer. (11-5, No. 3 seed)

Chris Wesseling: Seahawks. This could be the most talented roster of the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era, which is high praise indeed.

Colleen Wolfe: Cardinals. Don't worry about Carson Palmer's preseason. Write that on the chalk board 100 times until you believe it.

Heath Evans: Cardinals. This team is so talented and knows how to win. The Cardinals have a perfect mix of veterans and young guys, along with one of the best coaches in the league.

Marcas Grant: Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch might be gone, but this team will live and die on the play of Russell Wilson. That's not the worst position to be in right now.

Adam Rank: Cardinals. The Cardinals are poised to make that next step. And really, I just kind of want it to happen after watching "All or Nothing" on Amazon.

Alex Gelhar: Seahawks. A rejuvenated ground game with Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls helps get the Seahawks back on top in the West.

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