I was concerned about the Panthers game. They are a talented team and should have a much better record, but Delhomme kept losing the games for them by his stupid mistakes. The Panthers got smart and didn't make Delhomme do too much against the Cardinals, and the Cards couldn't get much done to force the issue. Panthers have a good defense and a good running game, and if Delhomme doesn't need to throw too much then they can play with anyone.
Nevertheless, it is a disappointing loss and I have mentioned that I thought this game would be more or a barometer of where the Cards are than the Giants game. So what have I learned... The Cards are pretty much what I thought; (no Denny Green reference intended), a 9-7 or 10-6 team that will still likely win the division. Actually the Cards have the exact record I thought they would have after 7 games, I just had them losing to the Giants and beating the Panthers.
As odd as it sounds, this game wasn't that significant in the big picture, (the Giants win gave them some cushion). I realize all wins are important and you nenver know what game will be significant until the end of the season but in the NFC West the key is to win the division games. I really think the key to the season will be to sweep the remaining division games, all games they should win given the Cards' talent level. If they are able to win their division games that would put their win total at 8. By my thinking then they would need to win 1-2 more games outside the division to win the division; Detroit and/or Tennessee come to mind.
If they lose any more division games then obviously they will have to make up the difference outside the division and that increases the level of difficulty to make the playoffs. Although I honestly think that the Cards can beat any of the teams outside of the division left on their schedule, (Bears, Vikings, Packers, and the fore mentioned Titans and Lions), wins within the division is what is paramount.
The loss to the Panthers frustrates like any loss but the Panthers are a good team and they have a lot of talent, more than any other team in the division and more than any other team on the horizon, except Packers and Vikings. I do not think the sky is falling. It was just one of those games.
Now if the Cards lose to Seattle, St. Louis, or San Fran then I may start to get nervous.