Compared with the rest of the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals hang at the back of the pack. But compared with the rest of the teams in their NFC West division, the Cardinals are looking like a favorite to make the playoffs. Not saying that which ever team from the worst division in football won’t deserve to be in the playoffs, but somebody has to make it, right?
Arizona’s two wins came in week one, when they beat the Rams 17-13, and last week, narrowly escaping a loss to Oakland because of a missed field goal from 32 yards out in the final seconds of the game by Raiders kicker, Sebastian Janikowski. Their loss was a 41-7 blowout in Atlanta.
The Rams and the Raiders belong to the NFC West. The Atlanta Falcons do not. See what I mean?
The Cardinals are going to have plenty of chances to prove themselves against quality teams this season. In fact, two great chances will come in the next two weeks as they travel to San Diego to take on Philip Rivers and the talented, but struggling Chargers in week four. Then turn back around and take on the Saints at home in week five. Two weeks in which the Cards will most likely find out that their starting quarterback, Derek Anderson, may not be the answer.
At this point in the 2009 season, Kurt Warner had thrown nearly 30 more completed passes than Anderson has right now, and had 863 passing yards, compared to Anderson’s 580 at this point. Larry Fitzgerald is still the prolific pass-catcher he was last year, but without Anquan Boldin as a compliment Anderson is facing an up-hill battle. The 1-2 Chargers may be just what the doctor ordered for Arizona this week, because a win against on non-division opponent will be a giant confidence boost for the Cardinal offense going in to week five against the Saints. But don’t count on it.
The Cards may have a better record than their week four opponent, but the Chargers are far too talented to keep down for long.