Well, that was interesting. The Arizona Cardinals experienced a bit of adversity this week and then answered any questions as to whether or not this team should be taken seriously. They sit at the top of the NFC West division and don’t appear to show any signs of transforming into that Cardinals team that most of us are used to seeing.
That adversity, for the most part, was self-inflicted. Carson Palmer threw an interception, Larry Fitzgerald uncharacteristically lost a fumble when the team was threatening, and the defense made some key mistakes. That happens in a game sometimes, but the Cardinals responded by showing a little swagger that most football fans would admit they didn’t know this team had. These are the kind of games that teams build on and turn into runs.
Great teams are supposed to play great when they need to. They’re supposed to do what this team did today. They bounce back, take control and don’t let mistakes defeat them. Showing the rest of the league that they can orchestrate a second-half shutout doesn’t hurt either. They still have four division games left to play, but as they’ve shown against the San Francisco 49ers earlier this year, their defense is too good to be insulted with the basic offenses schemes of those 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks have basically decided to rely on defense, play it conservative on offense and hope Russell Wilson can make a few things happen. That isn’t going to do it. Colin Kaepernick is terrible, that defense in Seattle is beginning to show some chinks in their armor, and the Saint Louis Rams are a year or so away from being a factor. Pencil the Cardinals in for a late-season push and at least one playoff victory that has a strong chance of being played at home.