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  • March 19, 2020 11:42 PM EDT

    The NFC West provided a Super Bowl team in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons and, were it not for the dominance of the Carolina Panthers, could have done so again in 2015. Colorado Avalanche Pro Shop . The Panthers accounted for NFC West winners the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game a week after ending the Seattle Seahawks season in the divisional round.While Arizona and Seattle both enjoyed successful campaigns, the San Francisco 49ers suffered their worst season for eight years while the defensively-impressive St Louis Rams - who will play their home games in Los Angeles next season - found their progress halted by a woeful passing game. Arizona Cardinals (13-3) Cardinals suffered defeat to Carolina in the NFC Championship game but it was a season to remember Thirteen regular season wins, an NFC West title for the first time since 2009 and a trip to the NFC Championship game can only be considered a successful year, even if the 49-15 thrashing at the hands of the Carolina Panthers ended their post-season run on a sour note.The Cardinals offence was nothing short of deadly in the regular season, racking up 489 points as quarterback Carson Palmer threw for 35 touchdowns while veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald transitioned successfully into a high-usage threat in the slot.Star man: At 36, Carson Palmer enjoyed the best season of his career, throwing for 4,671 total yards and a quarterback rating (104.6) usually the preserve of Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.The Cardinals look primed to challenge again in 2016 but much will depend on whether Palmer can replicate this excellent 2015 form.Grade: A-. A superb season that ended one step short of the Super Bowl; can the Cards go one better in 2016? Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald turned back the clock for the Arizona Cardinals this season. Watch his highlights here. Video courtesy of the NFL. Seattle Seahawks (10-6)After reaching the Super Bowl in two successive seasons, elimination from the 2015 post-season at the divisional round might be considered disappointing by the Seahawks high standards.But given Seattles sluggish 2-4 start to the season, reports of locker room rancour, the absence of Marshawn Lynch for long periods and the failure to accommodate starting tight end Jimmy Graham into their offence, battling through to the post-season represents some degree of success.The emergence of wide receiver Doug Baldwin (1,069 yards and 14 touchdowns) and running back Thomas Rawls (830 yards rushing) gave coach Pete Carroll plenty of optimism for the future despite the retirement of Lynch.Star man: Seattles early season struggles and late season dominance were mirrored by those of quarterback Russell Wilson. Twenty-five of Wilsons 34 touchdown passes came after Week 9 as the Seahawks field general raced past 4.000 yards passing for the season and an overall QB rating of 110.1.Grade: B. After a season that began with uncertainty yielded post-season play for a fourth successive year, the emergence of new stars suggests the Seahawks will contend again 2016. Ode to Beast Mode Marshawn Lynch retired at the end of the season St Louis Rams (7-9)After a strong 4-3 start and consistently strong performances against their divisional rivals - they went 4-2 against Seattle, Arizona and San Francisco but 3-7 against the rest of the league, the Rams crumbled to record a losing season for the ninth successive year thanks in the main to their stagnant offence.Quarterback Nick Foles, a high-profile off-season swap for the Eagles-bound Sam Bradford, turned in a number of dismal performances as he marshalled the leagues worst passing offence - they averaged just 175.3 yards a game through the air - and was benched for back-up Case Keenum. Aaron Donald stood out for St. Louis Rams at defensive tackle this season. Here are some of his best bits. Video courtesy of the NFL. The Rams defence, led by the excellent Aaron Donald (11 sacks), Mark Barron (135 tackles) and James Laurinaitas (114 tackles), ensured the Rams had plenty of opportunities to win games. Sadly for coach Jeff Fisher, the offence rarely took advantage.Star man: Running back Todd Gurley led the Rams offence as he rushed for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns - the third-most in the NFL, topped 125 yards in each of his first four games and was named Offensive Rookie of the Year.Grade: C. Another ultimately mediocre season, but if Fisher could solve his quarterback conundrum, theres no telling what the Rams could achieve as they relocate to Los Angeles. Todd Gurley shows why he is viewed as one of the NFLs most electrifying players with a 71-yard touchdown run against the San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco 49ers (5-11)Following the departure of head coach Jim Harbaugh and a rash of retirements, 2015 projected to be a long season for the 49ers and so it proved. Their 5-11 return was the teams worst since 2007. It was a season to forget for quarterback Colin Kaepernick as San Francisco 49ers recorded their worst record since 2009 Their offence was the worst in the league, averaging a paltry 14.9 points per game and surpassing the 20 point-mark just four times. Harbaughs replacement Jim Tomsula paid the price as he was fired on Black Monday.The primary reasons for those offensive struggles? A foot injury to running back Carlos Hyde and the loss of form of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who looked a shadow of his former self until he was benched for back-up Blaine Gabbert after a Week 8 loss to the St Louis Rams.Star player: NaVorro Bowman provided a rare positive story in the 49ers season of toil. The linebacker, who missed the entire 2014 season through injury, returned with a vengeance making 154 tackles as the Niners held play-off bound offences to just 16.6 points at Levis Stadium.Grade: D-. An awful 2015 could be repeated in 2016 unless Tomsulas replacement Chip Kelly can rejuvenate Kaepernick or find a suitable replacement. Can Chip Kelly mastermind a turnaround at Levis Stadium after replacing Jim Tomsula Colorado Avalanche Shirts .Y. -- Sabres forward Drew Stafford has witnessed plenty of turmoil during his eight seasons in Buffalo. Avalanche Jerseys China . Reigning world champion Eve Muirhead of Scotland opened with a 12-2 rout of Winnipegs Jennifer Jones in a battle of teams bound for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. . There are surprises among the Vezina candidates, but most of the others are standard top-tier performers, even if the two Hart Trophy runners-ups have never been quite as good as they have been through the first half of the season. Hurricanes assistant coach John Plumtree has a place in his heart for the Sharks as the two best teams yet to win a Super Rugby title get set to square off.The top-qualifying Hurricanes host the eighth-seeded Sharks in a quarter-final on Saturday, with one team set to extend a lengthy run of dead-end appearances in the knockout phase.Nobody has a more frustrating record than the Durban-based visitors, who have qualified for the play-offs nine times but never won a title.Their record includes four losses in the final.The Hurricanes arent much better, with seven failed play-off visits, which includes last years loss to the Highlanders on home soil in the decider.That result continued a soul-destroying record for Plumtree, whose five seasons in charge at the Sharks featured three post-season appearances.It ended with a final loss to the Chiefs in 2012, having been forced into an exhausting campaign which featured wins in Brisbane and Cape Town followed by defeat in Hamilton.It is that very series which has Plumtree on edge, along with a worrying Sharkks history of success on New Zealand soil. Wholesale Avalanche Jerseys. This teams not scared of travelling. Theyve got a lot of massive characters in that team and they know how to win in New Zealand, Plumtree said.Them coming to us, it wont be a problem for them.Plumtree says he feels all the pain of Sharks supporters over their poor play-off record and suggests they are stinging at least as much as the Hurricanes - the only Kiwi team still to claim the title.The Sharks dominated up front in a 32-15 win when the teams met in Durban in May, with the Hurricanes sub-standard efforts that day forming a big part of their buildup.We pretty much got man-handled. They slowed down our ball and we cant afford that type of thing to happen, he said.BEST OF THE 10 TITLE-LESS SUPER RUGBY TEAMS9 play-off appearances - Sharks (4 times in final)7 - Hurricanes (2)6 - Stormers (1)2 - Lions (0)1 - Cheetahs (0)0 - Force, Rebels, Kings, Jaguares, Sunwolves. ' ' '