GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 27: The Arizona Cardinals run out onto the field during introductions to the preseason NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chargers defeated the Cardinals 34-31. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Taking a quick look at the NFC Wests team's strength of schedule (SOS), you can see that once again Arizona has the "easiest" ranked schedule playing teams with a collective winning % last year of .441.
The NFC West overall is ranked low with the Seahawks leading our division with a strength of schedule ranked 23rd(tied) playing against teams with a collective winning % of .488.
After the break a list of the teams we are playing this season and their respective SOS's.
1. Carolina Panthers
10t. Minnesota Vikings
15t. Philadelphia Eagles
15t. Dallas Cowboys
19t. Cleveland Browns
19t. New York Giants
23t. Seattle Seahawks*
26. St. Louis Rams*
27t. Pittsburgh Steelers
27t. Cincinnati Bengals
27t. Washington Redskins
30. San Francisco 49ers*
31. Baltimore Ravens
32. Arizona Cardinals
Considering Arizona's seemingly improved offense and our incredibly weak SOS, winning the NFC West again is very a realistic prospect. In many pundits opinion's the St. Louis Rams are favored to win the conference, while a trendy pick for the obvious reasons, the Rams have some early hurdles to overcome.
The Rams open their schedule with the Eagles at home, the Giants away, Baltimore at home, Washington at home, a bye week and than week 6 in Green Bay. If the Rams survive this stretch with a record at or better than 3 wins we should consider them a legit contender and the team to beat.
Arizona on the other hand opens up with the Cam Newton lead Carolina Panthers at home, the Redskins away, the Seahawks away, the Giants at home, and the Vikings away. Arizona has a much better chance of surviving with a 3-3 record or better.
As of right now we will consider the Rams and the Cardinals to be the front runners as the Seahawks and Niners have been unable to generate any offense thus far.
The Cardinals best opportunity for winning the West is getting off to a hot start to buffer ourselves for back to back games against the Steelers at home and Baltimore away. Weeks 7 and 8 will be a true test of our team.