Cardinals Show Steady Improvement

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It was not all that long ago when the Arizona Cardinals would have been considered a favorite in 2012 Super Bowl odds as they barely lost the championship game to the Pittsburgh Steelers in February of 2009. But since the retirement of Kurt Warner as their quarterback, Arizona has lost its identity and its championship form.

The winning formula may be coming back for Arizona, as after losing six consecutive games that followed an opening day win, the Cardinals have won 4 of their last 5 including last week’s 19-13 overtime win against the Dallas Cowboys. While the playoffs are out of the question for this year there is hope for the future in Arizona.

A big part of the resurgence for the Big Red has been running back Beanie Wells, who is closing in on a 1,000 yard season with 916 yards and a 4.6 yards per carry average along with a team best 9 touchdowns. Larry Fitzgerald remains one of the best receivers in football as he is also closing in on 1,000 yards at 943 with a 17.1 yards per catch average and 6 TDs.

The big question has been at quarterback where Kevin Kolb has been in and out of the lineup. Kolb was acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles after they kicked him to the curb in favor of Michael Vick. The Eagles may wish that Kolb was back as their season has turned into a train wreck and coach Andy Reid may be fired at the end of the season for the collapse. Kolb had his best game of the season against Dallas as he had a 109.9 QB rating with 247 yards passing and a TD.

Arizona plays in the weak NFC West Division where only the San Francisco 49ers look like a dominant team in the years to come. This makes for a golden opportunity for Arizona to quickly build and get back into the hunt for 2012 as the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams are hard to take seriously as future contenders.

Defense remains a concern for the Cardinals although it has improved over the past month and has been a factor in the winning results. The Big Red ranks 19th in the NFL for points allowed and 25th overall for team defense but those numbers will have to be cut down if the playoffs are to return to the valley of the sun in 2012.

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