Atlanta Falcons - The team is still searching for someone to replace free agent WR Tony Martin, who led the team with 66 receptions. The performance of running back Jamal Anderson and quarterback Chris Chandler will depend on whether they find someone to fill Martin's shoes. Coach Dan Reeves has turned the Falcons' defense into one of the league's best.
San Francisco 49ers - The success of the team depends on the health of 38-year-old QB Steve Young. It also needs a replacement for injured running back Garrison Hearst to take pressure off the team's very talented wide receivers. The 49ers will play well as usual, but the defense will probably give up too many points this season.
New Orleans Saints - Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, who set the college record for rushing yards in a career, should change the entire appearance of this team. All Williams will need the offensive line to do is be consistent. He can handle the rest. Expect a slight improvement on the Saints 6-10 record of last year.
St. Louis Rams - A season-ending injury to quarterback Trent Green may postpone this team's breakout season for another year. How the Rams new offensive players, running back Marshall Faulk (free agent), guard Adam Timmerman (free agent) and wide receiver Torry Holt (rookie), react to the quarterback situation will make or break the season.
Carolina Panthers - Former San Francisco coach George Seifert doesn't have the tools yet to make the Panthers a contender. But the league's worst defense from last year is guaranteed to improve with Seifert in charge. On offense, however the team doesn't have enough experience to compete in this division.