NFC West power rankings: 49ers have a legit threat in 2024 season

Could the Rams unseat the 49ers in the NFC West this season?
NFC West
NFC West / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

The NFC West is one of the best divisions in football, and has produced some of the best teams to come out of the NFC for the last near-decade or longer at this point. Between the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, and Seattle Seahawks, NFL fans have gotten used to seeing these NFC West teams deep into the postseason and representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.

The 49ers are the reigning NFC Champions. The Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl in the 2021-22 season. Although these teams have had to retool, the coaching of Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay, respectively, is must-see TV every single week.

Now, the NFC West has the up-and-coming Arizona Cardinals as well as the always-competitive Seattle Seahawks. How do those teams stack up as we approach the 2024 season?

2024 NFC West Power Rankings post-NFL Draft

4. Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks look like a declining team from the outside looking in. Regardless of whether or not the rumors are true, the Seahawks did make a pretty substantial investment by trading for Commanders QB Sam Howell, and the noise is only going to get louder the closer we get to training camp that he could eventually be the starter.

Pete Carroll is gone. The Seahawks struggled badly on the defensive line last year. This has the feel of a team that is going to get worse before it gets better, and they're the only team in the NFC West with a potential issue at the quarterback position.

3. Arizona Cardinals

I'm buying what Jonathan Gannon is selling. I was on record last offseason calling the Arizona Cardinals the worst roster in the NFL. I didn't think they had enough talent at the key positions on an NFL roster, and the injury/recovery time for quarterback Kyler Murray only made the team's present and future more cloudy.

But Jonathan Gannon's impact in Arizona was felt immediately, and his absence in Philadelphia was also noticable from the very start of last season. Gannon is a good coach, and the Cardinals now have much better players. With Murray another offseason removed from his major knee injury in the 2022 season and Marvin Harrison Jr. now on board, this Arizona team is going to be tough all season.

2. Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams are closer to the San Francisco 49ers than any 49ers fan would care to admit at this point. The Rams went through a bit of rebuilding in 2022 when they also suffered a ton of key injuries. Aaron Donald may be retired, but this Rams team is reloaded on the offensive and defensive lines, and you can't count them out with a healthy Matthew Stafford under center.

Sean McVay and his staff have done such a tremendous job of player development, and Les Snead's scouting department deserves a ton of credit for identifying guys who can come in and contribute right away at every turn of the NFL Draft. The Rams are a completely different squad from the one that won the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, but this is a good team that should win at least 10 games.

1. San Francisco 49ers

It's going to be tough to truly unseat the San Francisco 49ers, one of the most well-oiled machines in the entire NFL. The 49ers constantly lose coaches and players to other teams, and they constantly have the ability to sustain even some of their bigger losses.

John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have built a variety of contenders and they find themselves in a competitive window almost every year if everyone can stay healthy. The addition of Ricky Pearsall to a receiver group that already includes Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk is ridiculous, not to mention you've got George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey as two of the best at their respective positions.

Is this team going to suffer any dropoff defensively? Losing Arik Armstead looms a little large over that defensive front, as well as inserting veteran De'Vondre Campbell into the starting lineup at linebacker. He has not played well the last couple of years in Green Bay. It shouldn't be enough to knock this team out of the NFL's elite, but it's a substantial hit.