The Cardinals will return to the postseason in 2017
The Cardinals will fix what they need to fix, most notably special teams. That doesn’t necessarily mean a different kicker or punter, although one or both could be replaced.
Arians has already indicated he wouldn’t rid of special teams coach Amos Jones but the special teams had another down day in Los Angeles. While Jones doesn’t play on the field, he is certainly responsible for the players that do.
The Cardinals finished second in defense and ninth in offense. Those numbers aren’t indicative of a non-playoff team. Special teams did the Cardinals in. They also need help in the secondary.
The Cardinals pass rush was greatly improved in 2017. So they succeeded in that goal. The offensive line needs to improve. Palmer was sacked 40 times in 2016 versus just 25 in 2015.
The Cardinals will start winning those close games once again next season. That will be the difference in making the playoffs or not, just as it was this season.
While a Super Bowl prediction won’t be coming anytime soon, despite the 7-8-1 record this season, the Cardinals clearly had the numbers of a playoff team on both sides of the ball.