The L.A. Rams look like the class of the NFC West. Harry How/Getty Images

The NFC West appears to be a two-team race in 2018. The Los Angeles Rams had a breakout 11-5 season and are expected to win another division title but should face tougher competition this year from the San Francisco 49ers.

Oddsmakers like the Rams to repeat as division champs, according to One betting site, TopBet, has the Rams as -185 favorites and followed by the 49ers at +325. The Seattle Seahawks are not far behind at +475, while the Arizona Cardinals are the clear longshots at +1,400.

Predicting how the NFC West will shape up might be a bit more difficult than last year, as the division will face the AFC West, which has all four teams expected to contend for the division. The NFC West will also face the NFC North, which has two Super Bowl contenders: the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings.

1. Los Angeles Rams

Sean McVay won't have an easy contest in 2018 like the 2017 home game against the Indianapolis Colts without Andrew Luck. Instead, Los Angeles will have road tests against the Oakland Raiders, New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions. If the Rams can win two out of those three games, they should be pleased. Another interesting matchup will be against the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico City.

High expectations surround this club with Jared Goff coming off a fine season, Todd Gurley making a possible case for MVP, Brandin Cooks leading a talented receiving unit and a highly effective offensive line. But it's the defense that might be more intriguing. Aaron Donald is paired with newcomer Ndamukong Suh, while new star corners Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters could shine for defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

The question surrounding the Rams' defense is whether other players can emerge.

Predicted finish: 11-5

2. San Francisco 49ers

After four lackluster seasons, the Niners are finally poised to contend for a playoff berth, with much of the optimism directed at Jimmy Garappolo. The 26-year-old quarterback likely learned a thing or two backing up Tom Brady in New England and looked sharp in five starts for San Francisco in 2017. Rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey could provide a big lift for the running game, which will likely see Jerick McKinnon, who has never rushed for 600 yards, get the bulk of the carries.

Big questions surround the Niners. Can the offensive line stay healthy? Will wide receiver Marquis Goodwin pick up where he left off in 2017? There's also a nagging question for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh: Can newcomer Richard Sherman, who is the only defensive back over the age of 27, lead a young secondary that finished No. 22 in pass defense?

There are some tough road games for Kyle Shahanan's squad, including the season opener against the Vikings and the Packers on Monday, Oct. 15.

Predicted finish: 9-7

3. Seattle Seahawks

Are the Seahawks rebuilding? It sure looks like it with the departure of some key defensive players. Sherman left with Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Sheldon Richardson, paving the way for a new group to emerge like second-year cornerback Shaquill Griffin and some redemption projects leading the pass rush. What the Seahawks have working for them is the creativity of Russell Wilson and an underrated offensive line. But wide receiver Paul Richardson is gone and Doug Baldwin is battling knee problems.

Seattle looks like a team that has its eyes more on 2019 and 2020 than 2018. Pete Carroll has some new assistant coaches that will likely piece together the right players to make a more sustained run when they have more depth. A telling sign is that the Seahawks used their only draft pick in the first two rounds by rolling the dice on running back Rashaad Penny.

Expect more downs than ups in 2018.

Predicted finish: 6-10

4. Arizona Cardinals

This is a year of transition for the Cardinals, with the team high on young quarterback Josh Rosen. Sure, Sam Bradford will be the starter in Week 1, but don't be surprised if head coach Steve Wilks does a lot of experimenting in his first year. Wilks is high on the big and experienced offensive line and the Cardinals could surprise a lot of opponents if David Johnson is back at full strength. The Cardinals are coming off a season that saw the defense finish sixth in yards allowed (4,975) due in good part to defensive end Chandler Jones and cornerback Patrick Peterson.

But make no mistake, the Cardinals don't look like a major threat in 2018. The defensive line is not nearly as strong as many think with Markus Golden coming off knee surgery and the unit lacking in depth. Larry Fitzgerald turns 35 next week, and though he is coming off a very good season, he may see less action with the revolving door at quarterback. Rookie Christian Kirk might be the Cards' No.2 option. Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus ranked the secondary No. 19.

Yet teams should take notice of the Cardinals. It may not be long before they are back among the NFC elite.

Predicted finish: 5-11