The Arizona Cardinals are currently 7-0 and the only undefeated team in the NFL. They’ve scored the second-most points in the league, while also giving up a respectable amount, good for the best differential in the NFL at +111. The NFC West is a historically difficult division to play within, and yet they are sitting atop their division rivals.
And it’s not as if their journey has been easy. They opened their campaign with a resounding win over the Titans in Tennessee. Follow that up with wins against the likes of Minnesota and SF at home and the Rams and Browns away. Sure, two wins have come against the Jaguars and Texans, but you have to win the games you’re supposed to as well as the tough ones.
So, why then, does it seem the Arizona Cardinals aren’t getting the love they deserve?
During the offseason, they brought in JJ Watt, one of the most dynamic playmakers on a defensive line, James Conner to bolster their RB core, and AJ Green to bring more veteran presence for Kyler Murray to throw to. Last week they traded for long-time Philadelphia Eagles Tight End, Zach Ertz.
This is a scary team to go up against, and the NFL should be on notice. Will they be the first team to go 17-0 in the regular season? No, probably not. But they could go a solid 15-2, get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and find their way to playing for the Lombardi Trophy in Los Angeles this coming February.
Sure, there’s a long way to go before we start really having that Super Bowl talk. But with the 6-1 Green Bay Packers approaching an NFC standoff with the Cards on Thursday night, we are likely to have even more to talk about afterward.
Kyler Murray currently ranks 5th in the NFL in total passing yards (2,002), 1st in completion percentage of those who have thrown at least 100 passes (73.5), 4th in TDs (17), 2nd in QBR of those who have thrown at least 100 passes, and has also added 126 yards and 6 TDs on the ground. The man is a beast, and he is gunning for a spot in the MVP conversation.
Then let’s have a look at these weapons. James Conner and Chase Edmonds have combined for 733 yards, 6 TDs, and 4.2 yards per attempt. DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, and AJ Green all have over 400 yards receiving and account for 14 of Murray’s 17 TDs. Add Zach Ertz into that mix after catching 3 for 66 and a TD in his first game with the team, and watch out.
JJ Watt’s addition to the Cards was a huge one for that defensive line, and one they’ll have to overcome now that he’s out for the season. And it’s not going unnoticed. This defense is creating opportunities, and learning how to play better together each week. They’re middle of the pack in sacks (16) and INTs (6), but they’ve forced 11 fumbles and recovered 8 of them. And with their offense executing solid drives and putting so many points on the board, they’re not constantly on the field, giving them the necessary time to stay fresh and come back stronger for the next drive.
Keep your eyes peeled for Arizona
There are a lot of winnable games remaining for the Cardinals, and we should expect them to beat the Wilson-less Seahawks and direction-less Lions. But it’s going to be those remaining games against contenders that will continue to show us that this isn’t a fluke. The Arizona Cardinals are a good football team. And they very well could find themselves punching a ticket to Los Angeles this winter. That talk will heat up if they can punch the Packers in the mouth on Thursday night.
***All stats referenced in this article are from NFL.com
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