The Arizona Cardinals come into the 2016 with the highest of expectations
The Arizona Cardinals came very close to their end goal of winning a Super Bowl Championship in 2015. They fell one game short of getting to the big game. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades though.
Nothing has changed in terms of the goals the Cardinals have set forth for themselves in 2016. Some teams in the NFC have improved while some still sit in mediocrity.
Most of the predictions seen over the past couple of days have the Cardinals at least making the playoffs. Some have the Seattle Seahawks winning the NFC West, others the Cardinals.
On espn.com, three experts had the Cardinals winning it all. Not everyone is sold on the Cardinals being able to equal or exceed what they accomplished in 2015. Here is how I see it.
East champ: New England (2)
North champ: Pittsburgh (1)
South champ: Indianapolis (3)
West champ: Kansas City (4)
Wild-cards: Houston (5), Cincinnati (6)
Championship: Pittsburgh vs Indianapolis
East champ: NY Giants (4)
North champ: Green Bay (2)
South Champ: Carolina (3)
West Champ: Arizona (1)
Wild-cards: Seattle (5), New Orleans (6)
Championship: Arizona vs Green Bay
Super Bowl Champion: Arizona
This is not just a homer pick. The Cardinals went out and got the pieces they needed to improve area of deficiency. They got linebacker Chandler Jones to help the pass rush, which was one of the biggest weaknesses on the team.
The Cardinals bring back all of their skill players. The areas of concern are cornerback and offensive line. The Cardinals have rookie Brandon Williams starting at one corner spot for the time being. They just traded for Marcus Cooper from the Kansas City Chiefs.
The offensive line should be fine. They did have some turnover but still have one of the best left tackles in the game in Jared Veldheer. The also employee one of the best running blockers in guard Mike Iupati.
Both conferences outside the top three or four teams seems to be wide open. In the AFC, the Oakland Raiders are the sexy pick but I say give them another year. The New York Jets could also surprise.
In the NFC, despite the loss of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, don’t be surprised to see them in the hunt either. If Dak Prescott turns out to be the real deal at quarterback in Dallas, the Cowboys might have a say in things as well.
In the end Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians should realize his goal. The Cardinals will come home from Houston in February as Super Bowl Champions.