Carson Palmer is the Arizona Cardinals' Key to Victory in Week 1

By Ryan Heckman
Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals enter Sunday’s season opener with more confidence than they have had in the past several years; probably since the year after losing the Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers. As they have finally addressed the quarterback position, Carson Palmer is ready to show that he is not done and can still help a team win after falling off the map for a while.

The former Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback hasn’t been the same guy he was when he was hooking up with Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmanzadeh a few years back. He’s been more inaccurate and has steadily declined in his productivity over the years; understandable, as he is now a 33-year old former Pro Bowler.

While 33 years old isn’t exactly old for a quarterback, his prime seems to have passed him. However, if the Cardinals are going to have any success to start the season against the St. Louis Rams and their very young, underrated squad it is going to be Palmer that takes them there.

The Cardinals have the athletes in the passing game to get the job done. Larry Fitzgerald is still one of the best in the game, no question. The athleticism and size he brings to the field is nearly unmatched throughout the NFL. If Palmer can get the ball even remotely within reach of Fitzgerald on any given play, he will be doing far more than what Fitzgerald experienced last year with the pathetic trio of quarterbacks in Arizona.

Michael Floyd is also one to watch as he enters his second year. His rookie year was tough, just like Fitzgerald, as he struggled to get going on most occasions due to a stagnant offensive line and very poor quarterback play. Floyd is an exciting young wideout with plenty of potential if he can simply get the ball thrown his way.

If the Cardinals can get even somewhat of a running game on Sunday, Palmer will have much more success than he has had in recent years. Wherever it comes from, the Cardinals would do themselves a favor if they indeed get some type of rhythm going on the ground. Whether that’s Rashard Mendenhall or Ryan Williams, Arizona has to first run the ball to help Palmer out in the long run on Sunday.

Palmer has to be better than what the Cardinals saw under center last year, right? I think so, just like most think so too. The key to the game is absolutely going to be how efficient Palmer can be with his first game as a Cardinal and if they can get a win against a highly anticipated Rams team, they’ll be quite thrilled with how their season could end up going.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior Writer for RantSports.comFollow him on Twitter  @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.



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