NFC West Q&A: Who will be the division MVP?

Today's question: Who will be the division MVP?

Josh Weinfuss, Arizona Cardinals reporter: This will be a repeat award for Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. He was arguably (but who can really argue this?) the division MVP last season, setting career highs in passing yards, touchdowns and passer rating while leading the Cardinals to a 13-3 record and a berth in the NFC Championship Game. He was even in the conversation for the NFL MVP deep into the season, along with New England’s Tom Brady and Carolina’s Cam Newton. Palmer will just do it again. The Cardinals' roster is largely intact, with all the players who scored an offensive touchdown and caught a pass from Palmer last season. Having that kind of experience return in such a complex offense will help Palmer build on last season quicker than he would have had there been new players added to the mix. And that will allow Palmer -- should he stay healthy -- to have a better season than in 2015.

Nick Wagoner, Los Angeles Rams reporter: In general, choosing an MVP comes down to picking the best player on the best team, unless someone has a record-breaking year. The Rams’ Todd Gurley would be a dark horse if they can find a way to contend for the division title, and if they do, it’s almost certain Gurley would be the biggest reason for that. The decision here comes down to Palmer and Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. Both drive the two best teams and offenses in the NFC West. Palmer would have won this imaginary award in 2015, but 2016 is the year that Wilson claims the crown. Going into last season, Seattle’s offense still looked to be centered on Marshawn Lynch. But with Lynch battling injuries, Wilson became the focal point and succeeded. Nobody in the league played better over the season’s final half than Wilson, who had a league-best and outrageous 91.3 QBR from Week 11 on. Now, with full knowledge that the offense is his, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Tyler Lockett established as strong receiving threats, and tight end Jimmy Graham back from injury, Wilson should ascend to the top of the NFC West and potentially be a legitimate contender for the NFL’s MVP honor.

Michael Wagaman, San Francisco 49ers reporter: Gurley of the Rams, provided he can stay healthy. Gurley is not only the best running back in the division, but it’s conceivable he could make a run at the NFL rushing title in 2016. Wilson of the Seahawks also will be in the discussion at the end of the season, and it’s possible Jared Goff might get some consideration, too, depending on how quickly he adapts to the pro level. Gurley, however, just might be the best player period in the NFC West -- and he’s entering just his second season in the NFL.

Sheil Kapadia, Seattle Seahawks reporter: Wilson. He’s coming off a season in which he threw for 34 touchdowns against eight interceptions and led the NFL in passer rating. Wilson is in the prime of his career (27 years old), returns his top four pass-catchers from 2015, and has never missed a game or even a practice. There’s the obvious question mark of the offensive line, but Wilson has shown in the past that he can produce even when the protection isn’t perfect. He can operate from the pocket, get the ball downfield, escape potential sacks and make throws on the move. Wilson right now is the full package, and all signs this offseason suggest he’s in store for another monster season.