It's always a long summer in anticipation of the new NFL season, but "SportsCenter" has come up with a way to keep your attention aimed between the end zones.
Watch "SportsCenter" and check back each day to see the expert picks as well as the results from SportsNation.
Best offense in the NFC West?
Merril Hoge: St. Louis Rams
The Rams have the best offense in the division because of the amazing balance they've incorporated into the offense since the departure of former head coach Mike Martz. This team has one of the best running backs in the league with Steven Jackson plowing through defensive lines and the return of offensive lineman Orlando Pace only will help Jackson get big yards.
Joe Theismann: Seattle Seahawks
Seattle wins this category in a close race due to the presence of Matt Hasselbeck. He's one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the league, but his importance to this offense can't be denied. If he goes down, so do the Seahawks' chances.
Best defense in the NFC West?
Seattle is very good up front and have gotten better on the other levels as this team has gotten older. What was really amazing about the Seahawks' Super Bowl run a few seasons ago was the youth that was in the defensive backfield. Back then good coaching and exceptional talent was able to overcome the normal burdens of youth and now those young guys have become veterans who know how to play the game.
Theismann: San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers did a great job in the draft and free agency upgrading this defensive staff. Mike Nolan knows what he wants to do defensively and now he has the personnel to fully institute the system he wants. The addition of Nate Clements from the Bills is going to really help the team. Clements is a fantastic cornerback who will be a great infusion of talent for this team.
Best team in the NFC West?
Seattle is still the best in the division because they have better balance offensively and defensively in the league. This is a team that can win shootouts or grind-it-out games and they still have a bit of an aura as the division champs and former NFC champions. I think it's going to take a year for young teams like the 49ers and Cardinals. They definitely will have their hands full with the 49ers though, but I think it'll be difficult for San Francisco to get over the hump this season even with their excellent haul in free agency and the draft.
San Francisco fans can start celebrating because this is the year the drought ends and their team is not only a playoff team, but a division winner. Mike Nolan and the rest of this organization has slowly but surely built this team into a winner and after the successful free agency period they had I fully expect them to win this division in a tough battle with the Seahawks.