Arizona Cardinals have blown golden opportunity to win the NFC West
By Jim Koch
The Arizona Cardinals missed out on an opportunity to lay claim to an NFC Western division that is no longer a juggernaut.
For several campaigns, the Arizona Cardinals were forced to compete in a division that left very little room for error. On two occasions every year, the Cards would have to take on winning programs like the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.
In spite of the challenges they’ve faced over the past few years, Arizona had a golden opportunity to walk away with a division title this season. Los Angeles, the defending Super Bowl champions, have limped to a 3-9 record. San Francisco and Seattle have won more than they’ve lost through 13 weeks, but recent occurrences have many observers believing that both squads will struggle down the stretch.
The 49ers appeared to have a legitimate shot at an NFL championship before they stepped on the playing field this past Sunday. Early on in San Francisco’s 33-17 triumph over the Miami Dolphins, starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a broken foot. The prognosis is better than it was originally reported, but Garoppolo will still likely be out for at least seven weeks.
One of the most surprising clubs of the 2022 campaign is the Seahawks, who have compiled a 7-5 mark with Geno Smith as the starting signal-caller. However, Seattle has lost two out of their last three contests, and barely defeated a depleted Rams squad this past weekend.
Arizona Cardinals had enough talent to win a less-than-stellar NFC West
If the Cardinals were even a fraction of the team they were supposed to be, an NFC West title wouldn’t have been out of the question. On paper, “Big Red” has just as much firepower as it’s divisional rivals. In fact, it can be argued that the 49ers are the only one of the three that has a roster that’s more talented than Arizona’s.
Ironically, the Redbirds’ Kyler Murray is the best passer in the NFC West at the present time. Smith has played well up until this point, but it’s hard to envision the Seahawks going deep into the postseason with the 32-year-old journeyman. Los Angeles has been rolling with the unheralded John Wolford since Matt Stafford was injured, and San Francisco will now have to proceed with seventh-round draft pick Brock Purdy under center.
Shame on the Cards for failing to take advantage of such a favorable situation. Just two more victories over the past three months would’ve had the team right in the mix with the 49ers and the Seahawks. Failing to do so is an indictment on an organization that had enough to win the division, but choked away the season instead.
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