The 2016 Arizona Cardinals enter the bye having played eight games, five of them at home. They are sitting at the midpoint of the season with three wins. Still, in a division where 12 wins would have only been a worth a 2015 wildcard birth, Birdcano sits only two games back in the loss column.
If not for the national media narrative carrying over from last year that Seattle is always a threat, Arizona can turn it on at any moment, and RAMIT is as tough on defense as either of the division powers (not you, 49ers, you are now the Jaguars Del Oeste), you’d be laughing at the NFC West just as you did the East last season. Instead, you’re ignoring them and, for that, they should be grateful.
The easy portion of Arizona’s schedule behind them, the remaining games actually don’t look as daunting as they did in October when the Cardinals were staring 1-4 in the face.
All teams that they can beat….and all teams that can beat them.
While the defense is actually quite stout, this year’s offense has sputtered. SNF darling and guy from my mom’s hometown of Clinton, Iowa, David Johnson is the focal point of the attack as Andre Ellington was supposed to be in 2014. Unfortunately, with Michael Floyd unable to secure catches, Smokey Brown literally having bad blood, and Juron Brown out hurt, the once-frightening receiving corps has been performing beneath expectations. Not helping is the matter is a perpetually not-Dallas offensive line and the fact that Carson Palmer is done.
Done. Stick a fork in him. He’s getting physically destroyed by blitzers and, mentally, I think he’s in pressure mode all the time. Palmer wilts under pressure.
Of course, falling from 2nd to 18th in points per game shouldn’t be a death sentence when your defense is as good as this teams but, with special teams botching snaps (Weeks 1 & 3), missing kicks (Week 6), and the team getting jobbed by officials (Week 7) — there’s little room for error. Recent injuries to the Honey Badger and LT Jared Veldheer aren’t going to help matters either.
In all, another disgraceful performance in a year where par football would put them out of reach in the division, everyone in Phoenix is going to be stuck staying tuned until Seattle gets hot and extends their lead to 3+ games or through Week 17 where the team will blow a must-win against a QB-Free Rams team on three Carson Palmer pick-sixes.
Or they’ll get read-hot and buzzsaw right through a shitty NFC playoff field just to see Carson Palmer, literally, murder/death/killed on the first play from scrimmage by Khalil Mack in SB LI.
Final prediction: 3-4-9, 3rd in the NFC West.