I wasn’t being a complete homer yesterday when I predicted the Arizona Cardinals to go to the Super Bowl in February in their own stadium. I mean, I did have them losing to the Denver Broncos. Is it a bit of a stretch? Maybe, but there should be no question they are a playoff contender.
The Cards, as we all know, just missed the playoffs last season. They were the best team in the NFL not to get in. The Cards offense it can be argued, is going to be better than last season. Better receivers, better offensive line, and a quarterback now in his second season in the Bruce Arians system. Quarterback Carson Palmer will still throw his picks but should throw more touchdowns too.
As for the defense, this is where the Cards lose a lot of their respect. Yes, they are losing some players from last years good defense. Daryl Washington is suspended and has probably played his last game for the Cards. Darnell Dockett is gone for the season with his injury. Karlos Dansby chased the money all the way to Cleveland.
There are some depth questions at linebacker sure. The defensive backfield got better though. They added Antonio Cromartie. Justin Bethel is a year older and hopefully wiser. Oh, and they still have Patrick Peterson.
So, when I read ESPN’s experts picks, I just sit and laugh. Only eight of 64 pollsters picked the Cards to even make the playoffs. I just heard Willie McGinest on the NFL Network say the entire NFC West, Seattle excluded, will be down. He points to the Cards injuries. I don’t buy it.