It goes without saying that the Arizona Cardinals are going to have their work cut out for them in 2024. Monti Ossenfort, the club's first-year general manager, is presiding over one of professional football's least-talented rosters. The goal will be to get the Redbirds back into the playoffs next year, and there are three familiar obstacles that could potentially put a wrench in Ossenfort's plan.
Heading into Week 16, head coach Jonathan Gannon's team finds itself stuck at the bottom of the NFC West. The Cards' ugly 3-11 record has put them there. Coincidentally, finding a way to leapfrog over those three pesky division foes could be easier said then done.
It all starts at the top with the San Francisco 49ers, a group that many feel is the class of the entire National Football League. Even with improvements, it's difficult to envision the Cardinals finding a way to overtake the 11-3 powerhouse any time soon. The hope is that the salary cap will eventually catch up with the franchise, a scenario that could force Niners GM John Lynch to part ways with a few of the franchise's best players.
The Arizona Cardinals preside in a division that is devoid of pushovers
There were rumblings all throughout the offseason that the Los Angeles Rams would suffer double-digit losses during the current campaign. Matthew Stafford, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback who many had written off, has guided his teammates to victories in five of the last six matchups. Head coach Sean McVay's Rams are now in possession of an 8-7 record, and would actually be embarking on an improbable postseason appearance if the schedule ended today.
Another division rival of the Cardinals who has performed surprisingly well this fall hails from the Pacific Northwest. Head coach Pete Carroll's Seattle Seahawks are standing at 7-7 following last Monday night's impressive triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles. That win came with backup quarterback Drew Lock under center, and is direct proof that the 72-year-old Carroll may be getting better with age.
An tremendous challenge lies ahead for Ossenfort and company in '24. A Super Bowl championship is the obvious objective. Such a lofty goal won't even be possible if Arizona fails in it's attempt to conquer the ultra-competitive NFC West.