Here are some random thoughts about the 5-3 Arizona Cardinals:
- The Cardinals are the best team in the NFC West and it's not exactly a slim margin. They're the only team with a winning record and the only team that's scored more points than they've allowed. Most importantly though, they're the only team that doesn't have questions at the most important position on the field (QB), but more on that in a bit.
- While the Cardinals aren't an elite team, that doesn't mean that they season is doomed for failure. Elite teams put forth a consistent winning effort week in and week out despite the quality of their opponent, but at best we're only talking about three or four teams in this league. The Cardinals are one of the "muddled middle" that's capable of beating or losing to just about anyone. Consistency is the goal but for now we're winning more often than not and getting into the post season is the first step.
Kurt Warner is still the same quarterback that he's been for the past decade or so. He's going to have his "dud" games and if his history is any indication, he'll have another four or five turnover game before the season ends. The good news is that he'll also have a handful of games where's he virtually unstoppable. Best in the league? Not even close but he's the best chance that this team has of returning to the promised land and I wouldn't bet against him in a gun fight.
- The Cardinals won't ever be mistaken for the Jets or Titans but our league worst rushing attack is improving. The duo of Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells are leading that improvement and it's more than just their 149 yard performance against the Bears. Through the first five games Beanie and Timmy accounted for 292 yards (at 3.4 ypc) but in the past three games they've racked up 311 yards (at 5.0 ypc). The Cards don't have to lead the league in rushing but any success they have on the ground takes pressure off of KW and the passing game.
- The defense isn't great but more often than not, it's going to be good enough. They are a better defense when they're playing with a lead and they're going to have their mental lapses that lead to big plays but overall this is an above average defese. With this offense, most of the time, that's going to be good enough to win.
For now that's all. The Cardinals hold a two game lead in the division (if you don't count the tie-breaker with the 49ers) and they've got two very winnable in the upcoming weeks (Hawks and Rams). The West is ours to lose and in a couple weeks we should be talking about playoff positioning.